Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Your Information Held Hostage?

May 2011

We have seen the old cops and robber shows or TV dramas where a criminal shouts out, "This is a hold up.  Give us all your money, or else!" Well, in cyberspace there is a new twist.  A trend is emerging where hackers steal information, some hold it ransom, and then try to sell it back to the company they stole it from.  It sounds like a bad TV movie doesn't it?  The bad guys break into a network at a company and hold the data hostage.  It's happened before but now researchers in cyber security say it is happening in what might turn out to be the largest data breach so far - the Sony Playstation network breach.  Could your credit card data be in their hands and held for ransom?

Researchers said that alleged hackers have been talking about it in online forums saying they have roughly 2 million credit card numbers from their heist.    The hackers offered to sell stolen credit cards back to Sony for $100,000.  It is unclear what the next steps will be but FBI Law Enforcement Officials are involved.

1. Set up automated alerts for exisiting credit cards
2. Consider placing high fraud alerts on your credit card accounts through Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax
3. Make sure your password on the game system is not the same or even a variation of your email, banking or social networking accounts
4. Several breaches have happened recently of email addresses - be very suspicious of emails you receive and avoid clicking on links or opening attachments
5. Consider a new credit card if your card was connected to Sony Playstation

This Week’s Word of the week:  Nibble (also sometimes spelle NYBBLE or NYBLE)
It sounds like snack time but it refers to storage.  This is a geek play on words.  A byte of storage has 8 bits so if you only need 4 bits, you just need a "Nibble" and not a full "byte".

Web Resources:
Sony is communicating updates about the most recent breach at:

If you want to set up Fraud Alerts, you can go to all 3 credit reporting services:

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