Anonymous announces plans to hack Sony: Why? The SOPA Act

Anonymous has announced that once again Sony will be under attack by their extraordinary powers of hacking. Here is the video.

Sony is not the only one to come under attack, but several others including many celebrities like Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, and Kim Kardashian, for their support of the SOPA Act.

What is the SOPA Act? Some say it’s designed to stop piracy on the Internet. Other’s call it a form of government censorship that can stop just about anyone or any business dead in their tracks. While stopping piracy may sound good there is a whole lot more to this act than meets the eye. Also, many piracy options occur all over the world, and the US Government can’t police that.

Here is the SOPA Act in it’s entirety.

This isn’t the first time, as we have reported in “Hackers Hit Sony Again and Again” and “Sony Playstation Network Breach

Find out what PlayStation has to say in response to the Anon threat. Do you have PS3? What is stored in your game’s memory that probably shouldn’t be? Do you think that if completed it will make any difference to those that support and endorse the SOPA Act?

“Anonymous” targets Stratfor: Credit card data information breach

Over the holiday weekend, it wasn’t only the elves that were busy or naughty little children that were disappointed.  The hacker collective known as “Anonymous” was busy in his and/or her workshop too creating a data breach targeting Stratfor, an international security think tank.
Who is Stratfor?
Stratfor, based in Austin, Texas “provides political, economic and military analysis to help clients reduce risk” according to their own promotions. 
Who is Anonymous?
Well, who knows really but Anonymous is a group of hackers who’ve hacked off several companies in the past year and then tweeted taunts from their own twitter account.  Anonymous is known for their signature stamp of a circle that reads “Anonymous is legion.  We do not forget.  We do not forgive.”  On the outside there is a circular chain and on the inside a headless business suit.  Hmmm… It kind of looks like a regrettable tattoo.
What the hackers did:
1. Anonymous reportedly ransacked Stratfor’s computers, stealing thousands of credit card number and other personal information.
2. To date, Anonymous has published two lists of credit card details to the Internet with of total of about 17,000 credit card listings.
3. There have also been large donations made from the credit cards to charities such as the Red Cross.
“These donations will never reach the ones in need,” writes Mikko Hypponen at F-Secure. “In fact, these actions will just end up hurting the charities, not helping them.  Credit card companies will do a chargeback to the charities, which will have to return the money. In some cases, charities could be hit with penalties. At the very least, they will lose time and money in handling chargebacks.”
What the hackers claimed to have done:
Anonymous also claims to have gleaned the company’s confidential client list containing sensitive information about high profile clients that just might include Apple, the U.S. Air Force and the Miami P.D. Continue reading “Anonymous” targets Stratfor: Credit card data information breach

Identity Fraud Against Overseas Military Members

Starting in November of 1935 as part of the New Deal Social Security program, citizens of the United States were issued what the Social Security Administration called Social Security Numbers.  Familiar to us all today, these numbers were and still are used for income tracking and taxation purposes, and are the most sensitive piece of personal information anyone can have.

In the past decade, however, with the rise of the internet as the predominant networking and business platform, social security numbers are being lifted from websites and emails by hackers and used maliciously, most often to start and subsequently max out lines of credit, along with other similar financial crimes.

Ordinary consumers have learned to take precautions when browsing the web, and to go to great lengths to protect their identity, but it has recently come to light that members of the military — the same people who serve and protect us at home and overseas — are at a much greater risk for being the victims of identity fraud.

The military relies heavily on the use of social security numbers to identify soldiers and administer their orders.  In fact, a soldier’s social security number has (in the past) been posted in public view, on ID cards, bunk bed assignments, laundry bags, and other kinds of personal property.

And soldiers who are overseas are even more vulnerable, as they don’t have regular access to their citizen accounts and have their highly sensitive information visible to the public.

One soldier, David Hernandez, was the victim of egregious fraud while he was stationed in Japan.  After his service term was over and he returned home, Hernandez received a billing notice for the repayment of a loan that he did not take out.  Furthermore, there were several outstanding arrest warrants in his name, as well as credit charges, medical bills, and other fraudulent accounts all opened in his name using his social security number.  Hernandez even owed back child support for children that were not his.

Another serviceman, Marine Cpl. Jacob Dissmore, returned home from Iraq to find that his information had been used to open credit card accounts, start a business, and even buy a home while he was deployed.

For members of the military, especially those that are deployed or are about to be deployed, it is crucial that more strict precautionary measures are taken to protect personal information, so that they aren’t victims of fraud while they are away.

Soldiers who are deployed and have had their identities stolen, and even soldiers who haven’t had their identities stolen, should follow these steps to reclaim and protect their information:

  1. Enroll in an online banking program.  Online banks provide access to account information from anywhere in the world, giving deployed soldiers the opportunity to monitor activity frequently, even while away.  And once enrolled, accounts need to be monitored weekly or monthly, either by a relative or by the soldier herself.  This will help reduce further damage and prevent more fraud.
  2. Place an active duty alert on your credit report and inform your banks of your deployment date and term.  An active duty alert will let creditors know that you are serving overseas and that you are unlikely to be applying for loans or credits cards.  Three bureaus keep a close watch on your credit activity, and will be able to note suspicious activity if you are serving overseas.  If you have already been the victim of fraud, contact the credit bureaus immediately and tell them you are serving.  All it takes to activate an active duty alert is a letter to each of the three credit bureaus with copies of your driver’s license, Social Security card, military ID, orders of deployment, and proof of your home address.  In the letter state that you would like to activate an active duty fraud alert on your credit report.
  3. Grant a close friend or family member power of attorney to handle your financial affairs.  This can be a great solution because it relieves active duty military members of the burden of monitoring their finances, but can also be risky because the entire responsibility is placed on someone else, so that person must be absolutely trustworthy.
  4. Sign up for identity theft protection.  Almost every major bank offers identity theft protection now, and there are even third party businesses that you can pay to monitor your credit and finances for suspicious activity.
  5. Hold or forward your mail, so that it isn’t intercepted.  A common problem for military men and women serving abroad is that their mail is scattered and lost in delivery, or intercepted by thieves and used to commit fraud.  Have all of your mail held or forwarded to the same place, and eliminate the risk.

Identity fraud is a serious offense, and it is a sad reality that military members are the most vulnerable to attacks.  But with a little effort, you can help to protect your information and reduce the odds of being a victim.

This is a guest post from Jacelyn Thomas. Jacelyn writes about identity theft prevention for She can be reached at: jacelyn.thomas @

Credit card bazaar: $3.50 for stolen credit cards sold online

Many of us go shopping for the best possible credit card, looking for interest rates trying to avoid fees and charges and hopefully finding some great rewards to benefit our family. Sometimes we contact our bank or stores in order to shop for those credit cards that we will really use. I guess it should come as no surprise that those wanting to use credit cards illegally also go shopping online to find their rock bottom, best possible credit card deal.

The Washington Post and Bloomberg reports that a European hacker online name “Poxxie” obtained over 1,400 credit card numbers with all their information including expiration codes, security codes, names and address of the credit card holders and then sold them on his online store Ironically, he claims that his sales are so popular because he is honest and that underworld buyers have come to trust the “quality of his goods.”  Unfortunately his site registered in India, making it even that much more difficult to catch cyber thieves in “the act.”

Just like any other online site from Amazon to eBay shoppers can sort and shop online, sorting and finding the “goods” they want by bank card, type, credit limit and even zip code. (My question is how do they pay for it, I wouldn’t trust an online credit card transaction, these are thieves and fraudsters after all.)

Continue reading Credit card bazaar: $3.50 for stolen credit cards sold online

Over 100 counts in latest arrest of identity theft ring in Denver, Colorado

Colorado is home to the latest indicted identity theft ring.  A grand jury has indicted 16 people on 168 counts including forgery, money laundering and identity theft.
The indictment reveals that police first discovered the crime ring when 26 year old Laura Fritz, a defendant who will be issued a summons to appear in court, went to the Lakewood Police Department in January of 2011 and reported knowledge of two identity theft rings.
The statewide identity theft rings with defendants ranging in age from 19 to 47, victimized over 100 Colorado businesses and residents including victim Shirley Christmon from Westminster who says she found out when her bank called her and said, ‘We’ve got some charges on your account, and we want to know did you make those?’ and her response was “No, I didn’t make any of these.'”
The following defendants have been arrested and are being held on bonds from $10,000 to $60,000 to $100,000:
Matthew Mccluskey, 47
Brittany Cox, 21
Matthew Leman, 30
Jennifer Spade, 41
Lauren Ciparro, 19
Johnnie Main, 20
Carla Cominiello, 30
Michael Dicino, 28
Teresa Kidlow, 35
Michael Relic, 42
Several defendants still remain at large including:
Robert Turner, 46
Alyse Shank, 19
William Joseph Roberts, 45
Jennifer Putman, 28
Roy B. Frank, 36
According to the indictment, the group would steal people’s personal and financial information and then put the information on fake IDs and forged checks. They would then use the fake documents at businesses and banks through out Colorado.
According to an 85 page redacted public copy of charges from the District Court of Arapahoe County, Colorado some of the crimes included:  Continue reading Over 100 counts in latest arrest of identity theft ring in Denver, Colorado

Don’t let ‘Season’s Greetings’ become ‘Season’s Stealings’

Tis the season to be jolly, but your holiday joy may not be so merry and bright should you run across any of these popular holidays horror stories, from fraud to computer viruses.

Avoid seeing red after starting your holiday season shopping on Black Friday. Before you head out to the stores make sure you clean out your wallet.  Yes, that’s right.  Take only the credit or debit card that you plan on using and your Driver’s License.   It only takes a minute to lift your wallet or purse from your shopping cart or back pocket and the more you have in there, the more you have to loose.

Make a list and check it twice. Store your credit cards and other financial information in a safe place.  Make copies of those cards that you are carrying with you and be sure to attach contact information to your copies.   This way if something does go wrong, you have all the information you need to start making it right.

Don’t be snowed under by requests for your information. Whether it is a pretending to be a non-profit agency or a “seller” of the latest and greatest tech gadgets that everyone must have, don’t supply your credit or debit card, checking or savings information over the phone or over the Internet.  Identity thieves and credit card fraudster know what you want this holiday season, and they want it too.  They just want you to pay for it.

Wrap up those receipts. Continue reading Don’t let ‘Season’s Greetings’ become ‘Season’s Stealings’

Small Business Computers Need Protections In Place

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Norton Small Business by Symantec for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you’ve been reading for any length of time, you know that we are hugely in support of the American small business.

While large businesses have an ability to absorb and manage the complexity of doing business today, small businesses have to be much more creative and flexible in carrying the brunt of the regulations which are passed by all kinds of governing bodies at the city, state, and national levels.

Small businesses also end up assuming many of the difficulties which are caused by employees or customers.  That is simply the role of the small business in America today, and a responsibility the small business owner takes on when they decide to open the doors of their businesses.

Cheers to the small business owner, the risks they take, and the things they do to build the American economy.  They do this primarily by offering a service to clients, and doing it so well that their business grows, requiring them to hire staff and expand.

Because providing service to clients is at the core of every small business, one of the scariest things that can happen to a small business is to have the confidential information of their client database taken from them.  In a day and age of electronic communication, this is most often caused by hacking, malware, negligent employees, or competitors causing willful destruction.

Not only are business computers the place where customer and supplier data is stored, they are also the primary productivity tools in most businesses, managing everything from cashflow to mailing to pretty much every aspect of the business cycle.

As a result, most small business owners know just how important it is to keep their computers protected and running smoothly.  But with all that it takes to run a small business, becoming a computer expert is not high on the priority (or desires) list.

This is one of the reasons why we talk a lot about products and services on this site which help small business owners with their technology needs.  This is also the reason for this article today.  You can have options to protect your Small Business from the latest online threats

Right now, Norton has a 30% discount for small business owners.

New Message-494Whether it’s a negligent employee who is surfing suspect sites on work time, or an actual malicious attack, it’s more important than ever to have software in place that provides layered protection for the computers that small businesses use.

Norton offers multiple products which accomplish these tasks for personal/home use and business use.  Norton has recently updated their products as well (Norton 360 and Internet Security 2012) so that you can be aware of all the latest threats and possible compromises to your computers.

Having software in place is a good idea.

Protect your computers before

  • an attack,
  • a negligent act,
  • a simple lack of understanding,

and do it before one of the above leaves your computer unusable or your data compromised. 

Spending a little bit in advance to have some protections in place can save you both time and money, the two things small business owners have the least of.

Take a look at Norton’s discounts on their products, and let us know in the comments below:

Are you currently using Norton Small Business by Symantec (or any of their home products) for your computers, or will you in the future? 

Which one of Symantec’s products is most beneficial for you and why?

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Unsolicited credit cards: What to do with them and who is “offering” them

Do you always open all your mail?   Or do you get busy and assume that it’s junk mail or just another credit card offer?  Today I saw a news cast on one very good reason why you should always open your mail and read the fine print. reported on a Columbus, Ohio man who recently opened his mail to find, not just a credit card offer, but a credit card.  A credit card that he never asked for or completed an application for.   But here it is.

Reading through the letter that accompanied his brand new Discover Card he finds out that his particular membership at Sam’s Club includes a Discover Card, unless you “opt -out” either when registering your Sam’s Club membership or when sent a letter which let’s you know you were approved and your credit card is on its way.

Sam’s Club is not the only store that offers this type of “service.”  Macy’s customers found that they had become the not so proud owners of Citibank MasterCards.   Apparently, 3.5 million Macy’s customers were issued the Citibank MasterCard that they could use anywhere, since they were already users (in same cases even inactive users0 of the Macy’s store credit card.  JC Penny, Sears, and Target have also performed a similar service.

Isn’t receiving an unsolicited credit card against the many credit card laws that are meant to protect consumers?   Continue reading Unsolicited credit cards: What to do with them and who is “offering” them