Unauthorized Access to Social Security Numbers

Internet security has become a challenge for organizations with rising instances of cybercrime. However, organizations also face threat of information leakage from insiders such as employees and contractors. Unauthorized access to sensitive information by insiders not only compromises information security, but also has reputational and financial implications for the business.

Recently, information security professionals with the Social security administration discovered leakage of social security numbers of individuals from the computers belonging to third-party agencies working for the state agency. A subcontractor employed by the Temporary Disability Assistance office gained unauthorized access to computers and downloaded thousands of social security numbers of individuals. You can get additional information at Social security number.

The offender breached the records, while performing regular upgrades. Computer security professionals with the Social security administration are assessing the damage caused by the leakage. Officials at the department are providing assistance to the affected individuals in dealing with the challenges posed by the security breach.

Social security numbers are used by many government agencies, private organizations and financial institutions as a proof of identity. As such, they may be misused by offenders for various purposes such as taking personal loans by faking identity and getting access to account information. They may also collect additional personal and financial details concerning the affected individuals through their social security numbers. In the recent times, mail redirection to a fake address has been one of the common methods used by offenders to conduct unauthorized transactions.

Misuse of personal and financial information for creating fraudulent accounts may adversely affect the credit history of the affected individuals. Ironically, in such cases, individuals realize their identity has been stolen and misused only when they apply for credit. Affected individuals may not only face challenges in obtaining loans, but also have to go through the hassles of dealing with bank collection officers for payment defaults and delinquencies. Organizations and government agencies must conduct regular tests using ethical hacking practices for identifying vulnerabilities.

Individuals must regularly check their bank or credit card statements and report any fraudulent transactions to the concerned authorities. On discovery of fraudulent transactions, individuals must also notify the credit agencies, who will raise an alert on the affected accounts.