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April 7, 2006

iPods and Identity Theft

The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting about an unusual case of identity theft.  The methods of acquiring information seem traditional, such as stealing wallets and scamming information from the Internet.  But one Wilson Lee stored his data on an iPod rather than a laptop or other computer.  San Francisco police broke the case after Lee or an accomplice allegedly ordered a number of laptops using a stolen credit card.  A plain clothes policeman delivered the machines to Lee and arrested him at the time of delivery. 

The police were surprised to find that Lee's cache of stolen personal data was stored on his iPod.  Even that unit was allegedly bought from a vending machine with the same stolen credit card.  Card numbers for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and a special agent for the San Francisco office of the FBI are reported on the iPod. 

Statements made by spokespersons from the police and District Attorney's Office indicate this type of data portability had never occurred to them before.  In the early days of iPods there were reports of people walking into stores and copying software suites from display Macs, so why not this?  Someone should probably tell law enforcement about jump drives.  Smaller, more transportable, and with storage at 2 gigabytes at the high end, these babies can store an awful lot of sensitive data.  The moral of the story is not to assume that all data theft involves a large computer attached to a network.  When data becomes portable, it really becomes portable.

Read the Chronicle story here.

April 7, 2006 | Permalink


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It gets more scary every day.

Posted by: Sean Matteson | Aug 4, 2006 12:33:28 PM

Stories like this make me think that encryption should be a household word for everyone. I can hear it now "Honey, did you use the Digital Vault (http://www.stompsoft.com/digital-vault.html) software on that on-line car loan data we just got in our email?" I do feel that data security has to be a personal responsibility, because the way it looks now a days no one else is going to do it for you. :)

Posted by: Anthony | Aug 16, 2006 8:28:37 PM

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