A Washington state man who admitted using the LimeWire file-sharing program to steal tax returns and other sensitive documents has been sentenced to more than three years in federal prison. Frederick Eugene Wood of Seattle was ordered to serve 39 months for a fraud scheme that prosecutors said was a "particularly pernicious and …
"...a surprisingly large percentage of users share their entire hard drive..."
I've not used any of the *Wire programs for several years but even then I remember seeing an automated warning against sharing whole drives. I was attempting to select a secondary drive (which contained no system files) and was pleasantly surprised at the thoughtfulness of the warning.
To upload your bank statements a user would have to make several stupid steps, at least:
- Save bank statements on a computer! This is an effort in itself, despite signing up for online statements my bank still insist on sending letters every month, one wonders what is driving these losers to start saving to a PC.
- Save bank statements with a meaningful name instead of just '12-09-09' or 'unnamed document(1)' as often seen on co-workers desktops.
- Alter the default settings of the file sharing program and then IGNORE the warnings.
- Or, deliberately save to the program's separate uploads folder, as I recall this is somewhere in appdata and so is normally hidden.
- Leave both program and computer running for extended periods instead of exiting when downloads have completed and turning things off overnight to save electricity + money.
Anyone who accomplishes all that is clearly intending to be a statistic of identify theft. This shows us never underestimate the ingenuity of idiots.
But do people really use LimeWire on the same machine they do their finances? I've done some stoopid things before, even when sober, but not that!
Asking for it.
So people share their hard drives with personal details on, via a file sharing application become victims of id theft.... they should let the guy of to teach those idiots a lesson.
@ babz - Some people don't lock their house up when they go out for the day, it doesn't mean we should let the burglars off to ‘teach them a lesson’, a crime is a crime and fraud is a relatively serious one, as is large-scale theft. I'm quite happy with treating offences where insufficient precautions were taken as less serious than those where criminals bypassed considerable security measures, indeed this a legal principle in Scottish Law but he's still a scumbag thief who thought he was being very clever.
All that said, using LimeWire ≡ FAIL.
He wasn't stealing mp3's or he would have gotten life!
@ AC 19:13
Well, allow me to disagree on details.
First, you don't need to share your entire drive for these things to happen. Just sharing a 'documents' folder is enough. Then you put everything in your 'documents' folder, and never think further... and that is their first mistake.
Banks differ greatly in what digital functionality they offer to customers. Mine let's me download bank statements as xls, pdf or ye olde faithful: csv
And they call it 'bank statement 04-2009.xls', because they have "nothing to hide". The beauty is that when they open a file in excel they don't see their mp3's and when they play an mp3 they don't see their xls's... so they don't ever realize that these are in the same folder. Their second mistake.
The upload folder is not a system folder, but an arbitrary user folder. Probably residing somewhere under C:\Documents and settings\Administrator\My Documents. Their third mistake.
Yes Windows is the most likely Operating System to power our victims machines, but this is a user error not a system error. This is a textbook example of PEBKAC
And of course they keep the computer running to do useless stuff. If all computers where used to do work, and only work, total private ownership of computers would drop to 3 in Britain and 7 on continental Europe (four of which are mine).
Why the coat? It's late.
"Wood would search the hard drives of LimeWire users for files that contained words such as "statement," "account" and "tax.pdf." "
If Limewire (and other sharing S/W) users open up thier entire machine for the world to see it's no surprise that others will root around looking for interesting things. It's like offering up your CD's on a shelf at home for friends to borrow and then leaving your front door open for others to root through the rest of your house.
At least put the CD's in a box just inside the porch door and leave the front door locked. ( but stop labelling 'Our holidays in France' as 'One night in Paris')
As usual it's not the IT angle but the 'knob on the keyboard'.
@John PM Chappell
Then again if you leave your house unlocked the police will be able to do bugger all !!!
and the insurance will laugh at you
yes i leave my door unlocked most of the time.
(hoping the kids will leave)
He sold an empty box and took a cheque!! Well I'm sure that it would just be stopped when the buyer opened the box.
He created multiple identities and then carried them all around. Only Matt Damon does that! (legal disclaimer -- in the Bourne Identity)
In fact Double Dork
P.S. the icon radio buttons are not showing today, otherwise FAIL.
Automatically more "clever" when you use a computer?
'Frederick Eugene Wood of Seattle was ordered to serve 39 months for a fraud scheme that prosecutors said was a "particularly pernicious and devious one."'
I fail to see how this qualifies as "particularly pernicious and devious." Anyone with even the slightest bit of technical know-how would realize that getting personal information off of file sharing networks is possible, and once you have that, this is no different than someone who does identity theft via dumpster diving.
That's not to say the guy isn't scum and doesn't deserve his prison time, but to use the phrase "particularly pernicious and devious" in regards to his crime is to give him far to much credit.