Hard Disk Encryption: Hey, If A Spanish Guy Goes To Pittsburgh To Install ATM Skimmers….

The databreaches.net is a great site and a part of my daily read.  Included in the stories the site covers are those instances where people are sentenced for ID theft, be it because they obtained it from a laptop with sensitive data with no disk encryption or because they worked in the HR department, what have you.  (Turns out there are a million ways people can steal your personal information).

And like one story shows, criminals will go through plenty to commit a crime.

Spanish National Arrested in Pennsylvania for ATM Skimming

A foreign national from Spain pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiring with a Romanian national to install electronic skimming devices on PNC Bank ATMs located throughout Western Pennsylvania in April and May of this year. [databreaches.net]

Now, the above is not typical of guys who conduct ATM skimming operations.  People usually skim ATMs in their own country.  On the other hand, I did read about a Bulgarian duo that did the same thing in Utah, and a Romanian who did the same in California.  Plus, if I recollect correctly, the TJX debacle from three years ago was coordinated by Russians if I’m not wrong…

In fact, once a guy starts listing all incidences, it turns out that a guy travelling over 3,000 miles to install a small camera and magstripe reader in an ATM is not so uncommon: it’s not an everyday occurrence, but it’s not so rare either.

Kinda makes you wonder about all those stolen laptops.  I mean, everyone keeps repeating the “fact” that most stolen computers are reformatted and sold, with the thief giving nary a thought to the data.  How realistic is this?

We live in a world where the “computer revolution” took place about 15 years ago.  Pretty much anyone under the age of 40 knows how to use a computer.  Technology has advanced to the point where it’s very easy to install software.  Everyone knows how to Google for information.  And, everyone knows there is money to be made using other people’s personal information.

And you’re telling me that laptop thieves are some kind of subclass that aren’t aware of all these things?  This is what’s passing around as a “fact?”  Pffft.  Puh-lease.

In my experience, it’s the police and the victims who are left with faces agape when they see how thieves made their way into a venue and stole stuff.

As long as a stolen computer does not make use of encryption software like AlertBoot endpoint security software, I think we should assume as a fact that any sensitive data on it has been accessed.

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