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Monthly Archives: August 2010

  • Radio Frequency Identification

    Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is the use of an object (called an RFID tag) applied to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person for the purpose of identification and tracking using radio fequencies.

    RFID is utilized for open-road tolling, making payments using mobile phones,

    The US government utilizes RFID for traffic management, and companies use the technology to keep track of expensive equipment, essentially initiating a surveillance program for inventory.  RFID's future is currently not known due to privacy regulations that may keep many of the applications from moving forward.

    A Westport, CT company--SecureRF--is currently examining applications to use RFID chips to keep track of children via student ID cards using radio frequencies much similar to GPS (although very different technologies).

    Read More

  • Hidden Camera Catches Woman Trashing Cat

    A woman in Coventry was caught via surveillance cameras dropping her cat into a trash bin. The woman was seen carrying and petting a cat--named Lola--before stopping in front of the trash can. She lifts the lid, drops the cat inside, and walks away.

    The matter is under investigation by England animal rights group, RSPCA. Read More

  • Video Voyeur Captures Himself On Camera...

    A 54-year-old Marion County, Florida man was arrested after a tip led authorities to a hidden camera containing over 300 images of people using his bathroom, officials claimed on Monday.

    Edward John Phillips, age 54, of Reddick, FL, faces two counts of voyeurism using a video camera; one of the counts is juvenile voyeurism due to images that depict a person under the age of sixteen. Police claim that Phillips used a video game camera that is designed to take pictures when movement is detected. The camera was hidden inside a bathroom closet facing the toilet. Read More

  • GPS Application Leads Police to Thieves

    A recent rash of New Hampshire thefts caused police to investigate and warn the public not to leave valuable items inside vehicles parked in the state's national park areas--especially at trail heads. U.S. Forest Service agents also cautioned visitors to lock their cars.

    A recent investigation was launched after thieves smashed car windows to get into vehicles, stealing electronics and cash.

    Unfortunately for the unwitting criminals, police were able to track down them down within hours due to quick action stemming from a victim's GPS application on his cell phone. Most of these smash-and-grab type cases go unsolved, especially due to the remote locations, time delay between the crime and report, and absence of witnesses to the crime.

    In this case, the victim went to the State Trooper barracks and borrowed a police computer to track the location of his Smartphone; the phone was in a nearby community, and appeared to be with someone walking.

    State Law Enforcement officers called the community's police department, who dispatched officer to the area; the officer spotted a group of juveniles outside the residential area. A local Forest Service special agent also assisted, helping police determine four teens as the likely suspects. Police recovered the majority of property and the teens eventually confessed they'd participated in the crime spree, or were guilty of receiving stolen goods.

    While the case remains under investigation, police expect charges to be filed shortly. Ah, technology!

  • Copyright Office Unleashes iPhone; Legalizes Jailbreaking

    The U.S. Copyright Office announced that jailbreaking (software modifications that liberate iPhones and other handsets to run applications from sources other than those approved by the phone maker) the iPhone, and basically any Apple O/S, is legal. The decision stems from a request by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the new ruling rewrites the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Read More

  • Hotels Top Identity Theft List

    Identity theft is the new watchword; hackers, thieves and criminals are continually discovering new methods to twist technology in an effort to steal personal information. Social media networks, cell phones, discarded utility bills and outright theft of personal property are all means employed by thieves to hijack your personal information.

    Trustwave, a security and compliance company, provides security information services and end-to-end solutions for businesses in an effort to protect confidential information systems. A recent report shows that hotels are now the top source for credit card data theft, surpassing restaurants for the top spot; nearly 40% of all personal data in 2009 came from hotels/motels compared to just 13% of thefts from restaurants.

    Hackers target hotel/motel booking and reservation centers due to the high-number of credit card numbers these entities keep "on-file." Like the Internet, once a credit card is in the system, it's available. A successful hacker can steal thousands of credit card numbers and, in essence, thousands--or millions--of dollars. Credit card numbers are used for numerous hotel services, such as bars, beaches, golf courses, swimming pools, gift shops, spas, and other recreational areas; however, they're all processed through one main database.

    Since hotels use proprietary systems, they're easy for hackers to exploit: a computer system at one hotel is similar, if not exactly the same, as the computer system at a competing hotel.

    The other unavoidable fact of hotels and motels are the number of employees who have access to the computer system and your personal data. According to an ABC News Report; "You have so many different employees going through the system that it allows them to either skim cards or put in malware that lets the bad guys hack into the system."

    In June 2010, Destination Hotels & Resorts had its computer system hacked and the credit card data of more than 700 guests from across the country was stolen; in January, Wyndham reported that their computer systems were breached and hackers accessed information from 31 hotels between November 2009 and January 2o1o. They never reported how many cards were compromised.

    Credit card companies usually don't require consumers to pay for unauthorized charges, but credit card users must report the theft in a timely manner to ensure their identity remains safe; the best method to is to check statements regularly and keep tabs on credit reports.

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