What Bernanke’s Stolen Purse Identity Theft Experience Can Teach Us

theif-stealing-identify.jpgIt was recently reported that a thief stole the purse of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s wife while she was at a Capitol Hill Starbucks, last August.
This thief was not your typical, petty thief, looking for a quick buck for crack, but was part of sophisticated crime ring, which used layers of deception and stolen accounts to steal money.
This identify theft did not take complicated hack attacks, it did not take hours of breaking through fire walls, in fact it didn’t even take a computer keyboard.
It just took some fake ID, banks not following proper authentication policies and someone with the smarts to make it all happen.

News reports state At least one check from the Bernanke account for $900 was deposited Aug. 13, 2008, into the account of another identity theft victim at a Bank of America branch in suburban Maryland, according to an affidavit filed in D.C. Superior Court. Authorities alleged that George L. Reid, 41, of Washington, cashed checks that day amounting to at least $9,000 in a string of transactions after the fake deposits inflated the related account balances.
Does this mean that we should NOT be vigilant of our digital security? Of course not. What it means is that with all the best security in the world and most hardened computer networks we can still be victims of theft if we are not carefully and practically vigilant. And even then we are not totally safe.
Maybe your purse won’t be stolen tomorrow, but maybe next week someone will see you typing your password on your computer and use that information to hack into your company’s network. Maybe the USB thumb drive you filled with critical customer data to work at home from, was stolen at the library while you were taking out some books.
Beyond digital security, ensure you and your employees are vigilant and aware of your personal obligations as part of complete security protection within and outside of the business.