Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Founder of warns that recent identity thefts at educational institutions pose a special threat to national security

(BOSTON, Massachusetts – March 23, 2005 – Identity thieves have compromised yet two more college computer systems over the past week. Educational institutions’ databases—which hold personal information on alumni, faculty, and others—are particularly vulnerable to theft. Once stolen, according to a nationally recognized security expert, the at-large data can pose an exceptional threat to national security.

On March 17, The Boston Globe’s Hiawatha Bray and others reported that computer hackers had infiltrated a database housing about 120,000 alumni’s addresses and social security numbers.

“The breach at Boston College is only the latest, actually, in a malicious string of security compromises at college databases across the nation,” said Robert Siciliano, a nationally televised and quoted authority on personal security and identity theft.

On Feb. 24, shortly after the ChoicePoint Inc. identity theft scandal broke, Siciliano appeared on CNBC's "The Closing Bell" to discuss the dangers of identity theft. He is author of "The Safety Minute: 01" and an upcoming book, "Identity Theft Pandemic: Curing the Identity Theft Virus."

“No group is immune,” said Siciliano. “Identity thieves don’t care whether you are a senior citizen, a student, rich, or poor. All they care about is obtaining identities.”

“We’ve heard that they use these identities to run up debt in another person’s name,” Siciliano added. “And they do. But ‘they’ are not only everyday criminals. Identity thieves can also be terrorists, eager to use these identities to appear legit, enter the country, and hurt us. In fact, the everyday criminal may sell the information to the terrorist. The possibilities are endless and all egregious.”

On March 22 CIO Today ran an Associated Press report that hackers were able to break into California State University, Chico’s database to view the names and social security numbers of about 59,000 people associated with the institution.

“Think about the convenience factor for a terrorist,” said Siciliano. “Universities, with their typically elevated numbers of international students on the rosters, are the perfect places for dangerous international terrorists to steal seemingly legitimate international identities to help slip past profilers at our airports.”

Last week, results from a poll conducted by ABC News and The Washington Post suggested an increase in Americans’ concern over identity theft. Among the poll’s findings was that about 70 percent of those queried saw themselves as potential victims of online identity theft.

“Finally, people are beginning to understand,” said Siciliano. “Identity theft is a serious matter deserving of the public’s full attention. A thief can easily ruin a consumer’s credit record. A terrorist can easily threaten the security of our nation.”


Siciliano is available to discuss identity theft as it pertains to personal finances, the terrorism threat, and national security. A speaker as featured on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, "ABC News with Sam Donaldson," "The Montel Williams Show," "Maury Povich," "Sally Jesse Raphael" and "The Howard Stern Show." Siciliano leads seminars nationwide. He has been quoted in Reuters,, Woman's Day, Good Housekeeping, Mademoiselle, The New York Post, The New York Times, The Washington Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor and other publications.

Siciliano's blog is available at Siciliano can be reached at 1 (888) SICILIANO (742-4542). The following URLs will take readers to his Web site and information about his work:

Main Web site:
Siciliano's biography:

Siciliano's contact information follows:

Robert Siciliano
Personal Security Expert
PHONE: 888-SICILIANO (742-4542)
FAX: 877-2-FAX-NOW (232-9669)

The media are encouraged to get in touch with Siciliano directly. They may also contact:

STETrevisions, strategic communications
Brent W. Skinner, President
PHONE: 617-875-4859
FAX: 866-663-6557


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