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Security Management, May 2002 | Go to article overview

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The post-9-u world has seen an unprecedented barrage of security studies, reports, proposals, white papers, and surveys. That flow could inundate anyone trying to keep on top of security issues. Let Security Management Online do the work for you. Every month we cull valuable information from the sea of self-serving studies, marketing hype, and irrelevant data. Check regularly with our "Hot Topics" and "Beyond Print" section to find the latest pearls of wisdom. Also look for the @ symbol throughout the print magazine for references to supplemental online information. And don't forget to sign up online for your monthly e-letter to get a preview of what's in the next edition of the magazine and highlights of what's online. Here's a hint of what's new online this month.

Identity theft. As the crime du jour, everyone has a general sense that identity theft is on the rise. But where are the numbers to prove it? Federal law enforcement agencies generally don't specifically track identity theft cases, and identity theft is often wrapped in crimes such as credit card fraud. Pulling together the data that does exist, Richard M. Stana, director of Justice Issues for the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO), recently testified before Congress that various measures support the perception that identity theft is becoming more common. For example, two of the three major consumer reporting agencies estimated that the number of seven-year fraud alerts relating to identity theft that were placed on individual credit files increased significantly in recent years--by 36 percent in one case, and by 53 percent in the other. (The third agency lacked sufficient data to track this information.)

A related issue, identity fraud, is the focus of a new paper by LexisNexis. (The difference between identity fraud and identity theft, the paper says, is that identity theft involves assuming an existing person's identity, usually to commit financial crimes. Identity fraud covers any criminal use of false identifiers.) The paper notes that identity fraud is often carried out by terrorists-including by Abdul Azziz Alomari, one of the September u attackers. Authors Norman A. Willox, Jr. (chairman of the National Fraud Center) and Thomas M. Regan, Esq. (chairman of the Privacy Law & Regulation Department at the law firm of Cozen O'Connor) propose a new methodology for ensuring accurate authentication of people. They call for a task force supervised by the U.S. government to study methods of authenticating people--the first step in the identification process. At that point, the applicant is new and unknown to the grantor. The white paper suggests the use of "knowledge-based information" that only the real person could know. The testimony and the white paper can be found on SM Online.

Building construction. The collapse of the Twin Towers perhaps offers hope for the structural integrity of future building projects. The disaster has caused the U.S. government, industry, and trade associations to examine why and how the buildings collapsed and what improvements could be made to prevent a similar fate for other buildings. On behalf of the American Society, of Civil Engineers, Dr. W. Gene Corley told two subcommittees of the House Committee on Science that the Structural Engineering Institute of ASCE is studying the performance of both the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. …

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