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ROBERT SICILIANO is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds.

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When a Good Guy Steals Your Identity

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Chris Roberts is a hacker. But not a black hat hacker, like the bad guys you may associate with the term. He’s a white hat hacker, or an ethical hacker, and no, that isn’t an oxymoron. Chris is the kind of guy you definitely want on your team, because if he weren’t, he’d be your worst nightmare.

I had the opportunity to meet up with him at the McAfee Focus 2010 event. His appearance fits the hacker stereotype: he’s tall and lanky, with a Viking beard and, I’m pretty sure, some tattoos. And he carries around a bag of tricks that could probably take down the Pentagon. He’s got every sort of gadget that could be used to sniff, spy, and hack.

Companies hire Chris to determine what their weaknesses are, and how vulnerable they are to a potential attack.

NetworkWorld profiled Chris, and, in the article, he brought attention to the fact that many people assume they won’t be targeted by identity thieves because they don’t have money, or status, or even good credit:

“So many people look at themselves or the companies they work for and think… Why would somebody want something from me? I don’t have any money or anything anyone would want… While you may not, if I can assume your identity, you can pay my bills. Or I can commit crimes in your name. I always try to get people to understand that no matter who the heck you are, or who you represent, you have a value to a criminal.”

No kidding.

Your Social Security number, which represents your total identity, is always valuable to a criminal. Because our system lacks full accountability when it comes to identification, anyone can use your data to pose as you.

Until the day comes, if it ever does, that we are effectively identified and authenticated, we will always be vulnerable to imposter fraud and identity theft.

Identity theft can happen to anyone. McAfee Identity Protection offers proactive identity surveillance, lost wallet protection, and alerts when suspicious activity is detected on your accounts. McAfee Identity Protection puts victims first and provides live access to fraud resolution agents. For additional tips, visit CounterIdentityTheft.com.

Robert Siciliano is a McAfee consultant and identity theft expert. See him discuss credit and debit card fraud on CNBC. (Disclosures)

About the Author
ROBERT SICILIANO, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds. His "tell it like it is" style is sought after by major media outlets, executives in the C-Suite of leading corporations, meeting planners, and community leaders to get the straight talk they need to stay safe in a world in which physical and virtual crime is commonplace. Siciliano is accessible, real, professional, and ready to weigh in and comment at a moment's notice on breaking news.

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