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March 6, 2014 - Identity Theft, Organized Crime, and the Deep Web

Sean Trundy

The following information is scary. Stop reading now unless you have a robust identity authentication system in place for your business.

Have you ever heard of the Deep Web?


It's the hidden, underground part of the Internet. You can't find it through Google, and as you might imagine, it's a favorite tool for criminals. You can hire a hit man, buy drugs, hire a thief to steal for you, and even worse. Much worse.

The Deep Web is not accessible through Google or a normal browser. Unfortunately, though, nearly anyone can discover how to get acess. It took me about 30 minutes to research it and learn how to get on. Don't get me wrong. I did not download the software or surf over to the dark side. I just wanted to know what it would take—It didn't take much.

Networked Organized Crime

The Deep Web brings new meaning to the term "organized crime." There are sites where criminals can easily buy and sell hacked data

Let's say you're a criminal and have just hacked a big retailer, and have a few million names and credit card numbers. What to do with them? It would take a lot of time and work to try to use each individual credit card. The Criminal Web provides a much better way. Just login and sell all the hacked information. Collect some Bitcoins and you're on your way to your next crime.

That's bad enough. It gets worse. 

Organized criminals then go to work to "enhance" the data. They cross-reference the new data with other data they previously bought or swiped. In business, the technology is called Big Data. In the hands of criminals, it's Big Crime. 

The result is that criminals can deliver a complete identity profile. They've got everything needed to steal an identity. Credit card numbers. PIN codes. Mother's maiden name. Previous addresses. Social Security numbers.

I warned you this was scary. It's about to get even worse. I'm serious. If you don't have a robust identity authentication system, please press your back button now.

All this Big Crime, Big Data gets really nasty when it's actually put to use to create fake identities.

Imagine you were a different kind of criminal—just an average, local-area identity thief. You connect to the Deep Web and buy a package of identity profiles for your specific area. Then, open up Photoshop and make all the fake IDs you want. Just laminate and go to the bank for a fraudulent home equity loan. Or, use your shiny new fake ID to rent a car that the rental company will never see again.

I can hear some of you thinking, "That's not that scary or new!" True, Photoshop and laminators have been around for a while. Unfortunately, many businesses can't tell a Photoshop fake from the real thing. Worse, the data behind the forgeries is much better. Criminals can create multiple fake documents in various different forms.

Still worse, did you know criminals can hire professional document forgers on the Deep Web? These are spy-movie quality forgeries. Perhaps your best employees can spot a Photoshop forgery. But, do they have Infrared Vision to detect advanced, professional forgeries?

Key Takeaways

Businesses are in an arms race with criminals. All the technology that makes our lives more convenient also enables identity crime and other types of fraud. Either protect yourself or suffer the consequences.

If you want to know more, I was recently interviewed on this topic. Play an MP3 of the Interview.

Or, if you want to know how to protect your business, call me, 800-883-8822.

Learn More About ID Authentication

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