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9/7/2003
11:28 AM
Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl
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Editor's Note: Catch Up With Security, If You Can

OK, I'll admit it. I'm one of those people who hasn't seen a current movie in years, unless it was created by Disney or Pixar and appeals to the smaller and more demanding consumers in my home. And I'm many months behind in renting videos of recent blockbusters (clue No. 2 that I'm woefully behind the norm--I still rent videos, not DVDs). So, it shouldn't surprise you that just a couple of weeks ago I watched Catch Me If You Can, last year's hit movie about real-life con artist Frank Abagnale. While I was thoroughly entertained, I couldn't help but think to myself, "Geez, law enforcement was so naive about identity theft a few decades ago." But who am I kidding? The problem isn't getting better, it's getting worse. Just last week, the Federal Trade Commission released a survey revealing that some 27 million Americans have been victims of identity theft in the last five years. That includes almost 10 million people in the last year alone. Such theft resulted in about $48 billion in losses for businesses and financial institutions and about $5 billion out of consumers' pockets last year. Ouch. This isn't a case of law enforcement being naive, but rather that law enforcement, along with consumers and businesses, needs better tools for fighting identity theft and must be more diligent in protecting our assets (for some tips, visit www.consumer.gov/idtheft).

And while you're thinking about better ways to protect yourself and your business, think hard about your systems and networks. In another type of real-life drama, our security reporter, George V. Hulme, recently sat in on a network assessment (sometimes referred to as an ethical hack) of a company that thought it was adequately protected. Luckily, they know where the weak spots are now. Do you?

Stephanie Stahl
Editor
sstahl@cmp.com


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