Vulnerabilities / Threats
8/4/2010
02:09 PM
50%
50%

Advocates Propose Child ID Theft Prevention Database

Database, to be shared with credit reporting agencies, would verify if a social security number belongs to a minor.

With the increasing theft of children's identities, the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) has issued a call for the Social Security Administration and Department of Justice to create a tool for credit issuers to assess whether a social security number belongs to a minor.

"The credit issuers currently are blind, they have no way of knowing which year the social security number was issued, but even that wouldn't help, because it could have just been issued to a 40-year-old person who just got citizenship," said Linda Foley, co-executive director of the ITRC, founded to help prevent identity theft and support identity theft victims.

The "Minors 17-10 Database" proposed by the ITRC would contain the name, social security number, and month and year of birth for every child, between birth to the age of 17 years and 10 months. "We don't want to provide information to the thieves, which is why there are limited fields," said Foley. Furthermore, the list's purpose would be very specific: "so a credit reporting agency could tell an agency, such as Chase, that the social security number belongs to a minor," she said. Legally speaking, minors cannot sign contracts, thus any such application would have to be immediately rejected.

Today, 8% to 9% of the calls received by the ITRC concern child identity theft. Of course, many of the calls come from people who discover their identity was stolen only after they've reached adulthood and first tried to apply for credit. Unfortunately, it becomes much more difficult to clear your credit reports at that point.

The ITRC first proposed creating a database of kids' social security numbers in 2005, but says the idea has lately been getting more traction. Perhaps that's because social security numbers belonging to children are a hot commodity on the black market since they come without a credit report attached, making them ideal for fraud. Furthermore, "it's an 18-year window of opportunity," if thieves can find them, said Foley, or even longer if thieves luck into a "dormant" number that hasn't yet been issued.

As a precedent for creating such a database, Foley cites the Social Security Administration's Death Master File, which is a list of everyone with a social security number who's passed away. It's distributed to the three credit reporting agencies so they can mark credit reports as "deceased."

Establishing the minors database wouldn't happen overnight. "There are some legalities that will have to be overcome, due to the Patriot Act," said Foley. Furthermore, the database would have to be quite secure, and available only to approved entities in exchange for their promising certain security levels and safeguards.

But if the minors database does become a reality, it would not only help protect the identities and social security numbers of children, but also "save hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars of business loss" for credit issuers, she said.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2011-4403
Published: 2015-04-24
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerabilities in Zen Cart 1.3.9h allow remote attackers to hijack the authentication of administrators for requests that (1) delete a product via a delete_product_confirm action to product.php or (2) disable a product via a setflag action to categories.ph...

CVE-2012-2930
Published: 2015-04-24
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerabilities in TinyWebGallery (TWG) before 1.8.8 allow remote attackers to hijack the authentication of administrators for requests that (1) add a user via an adduser action to admin/index.php or (2) conduct static PHP code injection attacks in .htusers...

CVE-2012-2932
Published: 2015-04-24
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in TinyWebGallery (TWG) before 1.8.8 allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the (1) selitems[] parameter in a copy, (2) chmod, or (3) arch action to admin/index.php or (4) searchitem parameter in a search action to admin/...

CVE-2012-5451
Published: 2015-04-24
Multiple stack-based buffer overflows in HttpUtils.dll in TVMOBiLi before 2.1.0.3974 allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service (tvMobiliService service crash) via a long string in a (1) GET or (2) HEAD request to TCP port 30888.

CVE-2015-0297
Published: 2015-04-24
Red Hat JBoss Operations Network 3.3.1 does not properly restrict access to certain APIs, which allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary Java methos via the (1) ServerInvokerServlet or (2) SchedulerService or (3) cause a denial of service (disk consumption) via the ContentManager.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join security and risk expert John Pironti and Dark Reading Editor-in-Chief Tim Wilson for a live online discussion of the sea-changing shift in security strategy and the many ways it is affecting IT and business.