Guide 2 Identity Theft - How To Protect Yourself

   
Guide 2 Identity Theft

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Basic Information
 What is Identity Theft
 How It Happens
 Types of Identity Theft
 Warning Signs

Commercial Identity Theft
 Access Codes

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Guide 2 Identity Theft   >   Access COdes

Commercial Identity Theft: Access Codes


Two of the more common ways by which businesses can be exposed to crime, including identity theft, are physical and data access code identity theft.

When there are many people working together, it can be difficult to keep property and information secure if an unauthorized person gains access to the workplace. One example is the problem of "stair dancers", thieves who move quickly around office buildings using the stairs instead of the lifts and steal in an opportunist way.

The solution that most companies use is to control entry to their building(s). This can be achieved by having only a single supervised entry point, or by using an automated controlled entry system. Entry is thus limited only to people with some form of personal identification, such as a company ID pass or swipe card (high security facilities may of course use more sophisticated and complex solutions). These measures prevent thieves walking in from the street, because to gain entry, the thief must first steal or copy an identity pass or card.

A common solution to guard against the theft of a pass or swipe cards, is requiring a PIN code to be entered when the card is swiped. If a card is lost the magnetic entry code and the PIN number can easily be changed. With a supervised entry, the security person or receptionist usually gets to know people, or the business can implement a requirement for pass inspection with photographic identity or a signing-in procedure for where there is doubt.

Data security is most effectively managed by starting from the "need to know" principle: only those who truly need information can get access to it. A user name and password as each person's means of identification is the most common solution. Strong passwords should be required for important data, following good practice for setting up passwords such as only complex character combinations and a minimum length.

By limiting the number of password entry attempts (often to 3 or 5), and then implementing a fixed time delay (often 15 minutes) before another attempt can be made, automated log-in systems can be secured against most "brute force" attacks (trying all likely passwords), especially if strong passwords are used. Furthermore, systems can be set up to detect these types of security attacks, and to automatically deny further access from that computer. Additionally, systems can be set up to restrict access to a defined network, or to specified internet addresses, or to specific computers.

Restrictions to certain individuals should also be placed on the ability to change (or, worse, to corrupt) important databases, and to download or print sensitive commercial or personal information. This helps guard against the possibility of disgruntled or dishonest employees damaging the company's data, or thieves altering data to achieve their nefarious ends.

Data held on portable or laptop computers can be more difficult to control and more susceptible to theft, and these computers are at greater risk of being interfered with, or for a thief to load spyware. Another thing to be aware of, is that there have been a number of high publicized cases of laptops containing sensitive data being stolen from companies, so it is important to thought through what the business will do should this happen, and to have policies specifying what data may be loaded on to laptops.

One last thing: Systems to detect and remove spyware, especially key-stroke logging software, from entering a commercial computer network, is vital to guard against identity theft.

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