Men in Proxy Blog

A blog covering the most interesting topics about online anonymity and Internet security!

Shoot the messenger, ignore the message

Posted on: June 23rd, 2013

shootthemessengerThe controversial Lifeline program that offers the so-called, “Obama-phone” to millions of low income families has been under fire since its inception. This news adds yet another aspect to be fought over in this continued heated debate. It seems that the safeguard of the personal information of those millions of Lifeline users, TerraCom and YourTel has not been much of a safeguard after all.

Reporters with the Scripps agency had been doing an investigation on Lifeline were able to find the customer records online through Google. The information they found was evidently all that any identity thief would need. 170,000 records were found. They took this news to the Chief Operating officer of TerraCom.

TerraCom’s COO, then not only refused to speak to them, but answered their query for an interview with a threat of legal action against the reporters that found this flaw in their security network. The attorney for TerraCom and YourTel wrote a letter to the Scripps agency threatening to press charges against the reporters responsible with violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

The company claims that the reporters hacked into their databases in order to obtain the information, the reporters claim they were only investigating the company and came across the information with a simple Google search. The attorney claimed that only sophisticated computer techniques could have been used to get this information and demanded a cease and desist and wants the Scripps agency to identify those responsible for the ‘hack’.

This case is somewhat similar to the case of the man who noted a security flaw in the public website of telecommunications giant, AT&T and was able to get the email addresses of more than one hundred thousand iPad users. His accidental discovery of the flaw and subsequent capture of those email addresses got him sentenced to forty-one months in prison. No one has bothered to ask the question about the viability of an identity thief actually using the identity of someone whose income is low enough to qualify them for an Obama-phone for any kind of financial gain.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Leave your comment