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Identity Resolution Daily Links 2008-9-29

Monday, September 29th, 2008

By the Infoglide Team

Lottery Scam: Lottery Scam Watch - Keep Track of Your Tickets

“The ticket was bought in May. When the ticket holder came to the store for verification, the clerk allegedly told him he was mistaken and kept the ticket. A police report contends that Melissa Trahan, 27, sent the winning slip to her mother in Mississippi. That woman, Gwen Landry, drove to the state capital, Baton Rouge, and cashed it in for the $800,000.”

Hub Solution Designs: Customer Data Quality

“Sometimes, attempts are made to programmatically improve data quality within a customer record, but because of tight deadlines, data quality across the file is usually not given serious attention.”

CT.gov: Waterford Town Employee Charged with Workers’ Compensation Fraud

“The warrant alleges that Mr. Hall ‘intentionally misrepresented his claimed injury and intentionally failed to disclose his employment and wage earnings while collecting disability benefits.’”

Homeland Security Watch: Senate Introduces its First DHS Authorization Bill

“The Senate bill elevates the assistant secretary for policy to the position of Under Secretary for Policy, to ensure policy coordination across the Department, it strengthens the authorities of the Office of International Affairs at DHS, and it authorizes the National Cyber Security Center, along with a private sector board to advise the Secretary on cyber security policy.”

Workers Compensation: California Fines Auto Body Shops Without Workers’ Comp Insurance

“Failure to carry workers’ compensation insurance is fraud, plain and simple. This is a form of workers’ compensation fraud – not having the appropriate coverage – is more common than you might think.”

Central Coast News: Santa Cruz police crack large commercial burglary case at Safeway

“Safeway loss prevention officers notified Santa Cruz police on Sept. 9 that the company’s store on Morrissey Boulevard had lost a significant amount of merchandise to theft and store managers suspected that an employee, Emanuel Anthony Ruiz, 30, was stealing merchandise. He allegedly took cosmetics, shoes, clothing and over-the-counter pharmaceutical items, including medications, from the store, police reported. Ruiz, with the help of the three others arrested, was then selling the items online, police said.”

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2008-9-26

Friday, September 26th, 2008

[Post from Infoglide] California Lottery Fraud

“[N]ow state and provincial authorities are shifting resources to address another rapidly growing problem: lottery fraud committed by retailers. The most highly-publicized case of retailer lottery fraud in recent years occurred in Ontario but cases reported by the California Lottery Commission, perhaps the largest lottery in the U.S., indicate that they have a rapidly growing problem as well.”

Information & Data Quality Conference 2008 Blog: IAIDQ Announces Plans for Certified Information Quality Professional certification

“The IDQ 2008 conference is over (but I’ve a tonne of posts to upload tomorrow sketched out on my laptop). However, one piece of news was announced at this week’s conference which too important to hold until the airport departure lounge….”

Telegraph.co.uk: Standard Life in call for HBOS insider trading probe

“Details of the takeover talks between Lloyds and HBOS were announced by BBC business editor Robert Peston on Wednesday morning at 9am, sending shares soaring from their low of 88p to 215p in an hour. The deal was not formally announced until four hours later. However, in two trades at 8:57am and 8:58pm, two buyers alone acquired more than 20m HBOS shares at 96p. In total, around 160m shares changed hands in the moments before the takeover was announced, making a paper profit of nearly £190m for the traders and leading to suspicion of a leak.”

b-eye.com - Business Intelligence Network - Blog: David Loshin: IDQ 2008 - Initial Observations

“As I am slowly emerging from the cocoon imposed by the needs of getting my new book on Master Data Management out the door, I am able to get back to everyday life, including two of my favorite activities (together!!) - conference attendance and blogging. Anyway, I am currently in San Antonio attending the 2008 Information and Data Quality conference.”

Data Governance and Data Quality Insider: Are There Business Advantages to Poor Data Management?

“However, this got me thinking. Could the inability for the stores to maintain more that 18 months of records actually be a business advantage? How many customers lose the paperwork, or even forget about their road hazard policies and just pay the replacement price? How much additional revenue was this shortcoming actually generating each year?”

California Lottery Fraud

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

By Robert Barker, Infoglide Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer

bob-barker-formal.JPGWhen I say “lottery fraud” you probably think of the email scam where an unsolicited message from overseas claims you’ve won a large lottery and asks you to send them money, identity information, or both in order to get a big payoff. Many states (e.g., Texas) and provinces have web pages warning consumers about these rip-offs.

Public education has reduced the effectiveness of this particular swindle. And now state and provincial authorities are shifting resources to address another rapidly growing problem: lottery fraud committed by retailers. The most highly-publicized case of retailer lottery fraud in recent years occurred in Ontario, but cases reported by the California Lottery Commission, perhaps the largest lottery in the U.S., indicate that they have a rapidly growing problem as well.

In July, the California Lottery Commission announced their recent success in using undercover work to catch a retailer in Santa Clara County who was defrauding lottery customers. In another case in San Diego, a retailer was sentenced for paying lottery ticket holders less than they actually won and then redeeming the tickets himself for full value.

The cases being caught and publicized likely represent the tip of the proverbial iceberg. While using undercover agents is effective, it’s a very expensive and time-consuming way to catch fraudsters. More precisely, it’s not a very scalable solution because the number of instances of fraud caught is limited by the number of agents deployed.

A more scalable approach to this problem is deploying identity resolution software to constantly monitor and detect hidden connections among the players in the system, for example non-obvious ties between retailer owners/employees and lottery winners. Retailers who game the system change details about their identities to avoid being found out. That may fool conventional software systems, but identity resolution easily catches them, and there’s a bonus – the same software that catches scam artists can match lottery winners with lists of people identified by the state for delinquent taxes, past-due child support, and similar indebtedness that should be collected before paying out lottery winnings.

Lottery players simply will not play if they can’t trust the lottery system. And if they don’t play, revenues will inevitably decline. While sting operations can help restore confidence in the system, they represent an expensive, manpower-intensive, hit-or-miss approach to the retailer fraud problem. Software is the only efficient and cost-effective solution to the retailer fraud problem in lottery systems.

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2008-9-22

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

By the Infoglide Team

info4security: The Cybercrime Arms Race

“Criminal activity has always mirrored legitimate business. The image of a Mafia accountant may be the first to spring to mind. However, it’s worth noting that cybercrime is not currently organised into one or more worldwide Mafia-like organizations with a Dr No figure at the helm. Rather, it’s an interdependent world based on groups who have complementary functionality.”

Portfolio.com: Insider Trading Suspects Settle Up

“In what the S.E.C. called the ‘Wall Street Serial Insider Trading Ring,’ 14 defendants, in two different schemes, traded repeatedly on non-public information in exchange for cash kickbacks, according to the complaint. Overall, they allegedly made at least $15 million in illegal profits.”

SecurityFocus: Two-thirds of firms hit by cybercrime

“More than 7,800 companies responded to the survey (pdf), which classified cybercrime into cyber attacks, cyber theft, and other incidents.”

Information Week: Congress Extends Cybercrime Laws

“The U.S. House of Representatives approved the bill — H.R. 5938 — Monday. The amendment — part of Senate bill S. 2168 — expands the ability of the federal government to prosecute identity theft crimes and allows victims to obtain restitution for the time and money they spend trying to restore their credit. The legislation, which must be signed by President George W. Bush, allows a fine and up to five years imprisonment for spyware.”

NRF LPInformation: Update on ORC Hearing, September 22 (Monday) at 4pm

“The House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security is scheduled to address H.R. 6713, the ‘E-fencing Enforcement Act of 2008′, H.R. 6491, the ‘Organized Retail Crime Act of 2008′ and S. 3434, the ‘Combating Organized Retail Crime Act of 2008′.”

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2008-9-19

Friday, September 19th, 2008

By the Infoglide Team

[Post from Infoglide] Sexual Predators: Can Technology Be Turned Against Them?

“At the recent International Conference on Cybercrime Forensics Education and Training in Canterbury UK, international experts discussed the challenges involved in keeping up with increasingly sophisticated criminals who target children on the internet. They covered a wide array of subjects that illustrated the complex ways that computer systems are exposed, including topics like mobile phone forensic investigation, the social effects of Spam, digital intrusion forensics, implications and methodology of facial ID training, and virtual reality police training.”

San Diego 6: Retailer Sentenced For Redeeming Lottery Tickets for Less Than Real Value

“Saeed Zori, 62, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to attempted grand theft. He was one of four retailers caught up in a law enforcement sting targeting lottery fraud.”

Evolution of Security: Bar-Coded Boarding Passes – Secure, Mobile, and On The Way

“These mobile boarding passes have digital signatures embedded in the barcodes. Officers who do the document checking are equipped with handheld barcode scanners (generously on loan from our partners) and can confirm the authenticity of the boarding pass instantly. This isn’t rocket science – the (2010 NL East Champion) Nationals use the same process at their new ballpark – and it’s working really well for both TSA and passengers.”

Andy on Enterprise Software: Burning Platform

“Companies struggle to get good management information (for example about levels of counterparty risk for trading organisations such as investment banks) due to inconsistent master data across multiple systems. When times are booming this may be glossed over, but with prestigious companies going to the wall on a daily basis, being certain of the information that you rely on gets a higher priority.”

Homeland Security Watch: Roadmap for Homeland Security Enterprise Released

“A new analysis and set of recommendations entitled Homeland Security 3.0 rolled out yesterday at the National Press Club.”

International Security Info Watch: Congressional hearing to address organized retail crime

“On Sept. 22, 2008, at 4 p.m., at 2141 Rayburn House, Congressman Bobby Scott (D-Va.) will be holding a hearing on the topic of organized retail crime. Scott is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. . . . Organized retail crime (ORC), sometimes also called organized retail theft, typically involves crime rings that steal on demand. Those crime rings work as groups for store theft, and a typical ORC ring will steal mass quantities of merchandise with plans to resell that merchandise to unwitting individuals and often independent retailers.”

Sexual Predators: Can Technology Be Turned Against Them?

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

By Robert Barker, Infoglide Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing OfficerRobert Barker, Infoglide

At the recent International Conference on Cybercrime Forensics Education and Training in Canterbury UK, international experts discussed the challenges involved in keeping up with increasingly sophisticated criminals who target children on the internet. They covered a wide array of subjects that illustrated the complex ways that computer systems are exposed, including topics like mobile phone forensic investigation, the social effects of Spam, digital intrusion forensics, implications and methodology of facial ID training, and virtual reality police training.

Pedophiles use multiple forms of internet communication to share information, including photographs. A recent infamous example in the UK is Philip Anthony Thompson. A British police unit discovered that his home computer was hosting a quarter of a million child porn images, including 3000 depicting sadistic abuse, and that Thompson served as an administrator of a forum that enabled and encouraged sharing of images and knowledge. 

Is the fact that Thompson was caught a sign that law enforcement has the problem under control? Not exactly. Denis Edgar-Nevill, chairman of the cybercrime forensics conference, pointed out that “people should not believe that cybercrime is being dealt with well or that it is something law enforcement agencies are on top of.” He was not being critical of law enforcement, and in fact he commended them for work in certain areas. It’s just that the scale of the problem is so huge, and with the growing number of avenues for people to communicate, it’s incredibly difficult for enforcement agencies to keep up. Their resources are divided across a number of cybercrimes, and, for better or worse, financial crimes are often considered more serious.

Given the finite human resources of police agencies, can technology fill the gap? Sexual predation depends on the use of fraudulent identities. Identity resolution technology has been used to fight many other types of fraud. It can find stolen goods being fenced on eBay by ORC groups. Stock exchanges find hidden relationships that lead to identification of insider trades. Retailers use it to detect and prevent deceptive returns of stolen merchandise by deceitful employees. Lotteries can detect false claims with winning tickets. Workers’ compensation agencies leverage identity resolution to identify fraudulent claims. And terrorists are prevented from boarding airplanes.

With proper cooperation between law enforcement agencies and information technology vendors, surely identity resolution technology can enable the development of automated systems that will shine a light on predators and greatly diminish their ability to operate under the radar of police groups.

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2008-9-15

Monday, September 15th, 2008

By the Infoglide Team

ITBusinessEdge: Master Data Management: Whaddya Mean It’s Not About the Data?

“Tony Fisher had some surprising things to say about master data management during my recent interview with him. Fisher is the president and CEO of DataFlux, which sells an MDM solution. He was a bit flummoxed about a CIO.com article that said CIOs see MDM as a chance to fix past data management sins, and he wanted to talk about that.”

The Forrester Blog for Information & Knowledge Management Professionals: Federation Supplements The Data Warehouse - Not Either/Or, Never Was

“But data federation is refusing to die as an alternative to EDW–and is taking on new importance in organizations’ data management strategies. Data federation is an umbrella term for a wide range of operational BI topologies that provide decentralized, on-demand alternatives to the centralized, batch-oriented architectures characteristic of traditional EDW environments.”

Andy on Enterprise Software: MDM Education - Big and Easy

“There is an encouraging increase in MDM education, reflecting the growing interest in the subject. As well as Aaron Zornes’ pioneering work at the MDM Institute, we had a dedicated TDWI MDM conference in Savannah earlier in 2008. Now TDWI is running a dedicated MDM track on its next week-long conference, in New Orleans in early November.”

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2008-9-12

Friday, September 12th, 2008

[Post from Infoglide] Managing Unstructured Data

“In an earlier article, Governing Unstructured Data, I discussed some of the challenges in managing and securing unstructured data in a large enterprise. Given that unstructured data accounts for more than 80% of all business data, this is a big issue.”

b-eye.com - Business Intelligence Network - Blog: James Taylor: What if someone with a lower pay grade were to do this?

“Patrick Joseph Gauthier wrote a great post this week called “Business Process Reengineering: The Right Skills And Roles For The Task Will Save You Money” and I loved the question he suggests (that gave me the title for this post):  ‘what if someone with a lower pay grade were to do this?’ . . . This is, indeed, one of the main drivers of decision management. . . . Instead of having hundreds of front-line staff refer decisions to many managers who follow guidelines taught to them by the one person who understands the company policy, empower the front-line staff to act by having that one person control the rules in a decision and having that decision happen automatically.”

kentnews.co.uk: Police facing tough battle to tackle cybercrime

“Tackling paedophiles who use the internet to groom children through chat rooms and create and share child pornography on the web was discussed at the conference and has been the subject of many high-profile cases. This time last year a paedophile ring involving a woman, who used to work at a pharmaceutical company in Kent, were jailed as part of a Kent Police investigation called Operation Starlight, which traced the criminals’ activity using the internet. Officers discovered extensive abuse of children under 13.”

The Bunker Blog: Couple Who Sold Stolen Merchandise On Craigslist And eBay Caught Using Doll And Stroller To Shoplift

A couple in Pasco, WA was caught using a doll and stroller to conceal DVD’s and other merchandise. . . . At least they weren’t using a real baby! Still, they had over $800.00 in stolen merchandise in the stroller when police stopped them. Police have also stated that the couple have sold stolen merchandise on Craigslist and eBay in the past.”

Evolution of Security: Seven Years Later

“Thinking back to 9/11 and when I joined TSA, I remember how people often said hello and even shook our hands. For the traveling public, it’s been seven years without an attack in the U.S., and to many, the rules are now burdensome and our checkpoints are a necessary evil. For officers, it’s one day at a time, with some days when you find a gun, a knife, hollowed out shoes, or items in bags that look like plastic explosives or an IED. Things that make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, your heart stop, because it’s a threat until you can prove it’s not one. It happens far more than you think, so when an officer asks to get a better look at you or your bag, know that it’s because they want to make sure everything’s okay.”

PogoWasRight.org: Hacker pleads guilty in breach (TJX update)

“Federal prosecutors won a guilty plea yesterday from one of 11 men who made up a ring that was charged last month with the largest data theft case in history, involving tens of millions of customers of retailers, including TJX Cos. of Framingham and BJ’s Wholesale Club of Natick. Separately the government also said it has evidence the group breached the security of many more businesses than previously disclosed.”

Managing Unstructured Data

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

By Guest Blogger Dan Power, President, Hub Solution Designs

In an earlier article, Governing Unstructured Data, I discussed some of the challenges in managing and securing unstructured data in a large enterprise. Given that unstructured data accounts for more than 80% of all business data, this is a big issue.

In my own company, we use Microsoft Groove as a collaborative document repository and content management system. It was developed by Ray Ozzie at Groove Networks, which Microsoft acquired in 2005 (Ray is now Microsoft’s Chief Software Architect). Groove has its quirks, but it works for us, and its military-grade security features and robust document encryption help guard against “lost laptop” syndrome.

Windows, which in its various versions is the operating system running more than 90% of the world’s computers, is inherently insecure. Users can create documents without any controls, and can store them on their local drives, shared network drives, or even on USB flash drives. Many enterprise applications allow users to download information into Excel spreadsheets or text files. And more than 80% of U.S. firms lose laptops with sensitive data each year.

Undoubtedly, an enterprise content management (ECM) system can help with these issues. According to Gartner, as of 2007, the ECM market leaders were Open Text Corporation, EMC (Documentum), IBM, and Oracle Corporation.

But one of the main challenges in a successful content management system is indexing and categorization. In a Master Data Management (MDM) hub, since that information is largely structured, identity management or resolution (i.e. matching) is relatively straightforward.

But with unstructured data, you’re looking for indications on whether a document deals with a customer, a supplier, an employee, an internal business unit, etc. And once your matching algorithm gets a hint on that, it has to find the identity information (person or business name, street address, city/state/zip/country, etc.) somewhere in the unstructured document.

This is not a trivial challenge. In a typical MDM hub, the hub vendor’s match engine may be sufficient. But when trying to categorize, index, and secure thousands of unstructured documents from all over the enterprise, an advanced matching or identity resolution engine from a company like Infoglide may be needed.

I continue to be interested in the issues of data governance for unstructured data. Not that MDM and data governance for structured data like customers and products is in any way a “solved problem”. Many companies are just starting to think about MDM and data governance on an enterprise scale. And very few are including unstructured data in their first few phases.

But it will eventually have to be tackled. Government and consumer patience for sensitive data being lost, inadvertently being posted on web sites, or stolen outright by international hacker rings, will at some point wear thin. In my opinion, more stringent regulations on how companies must manage and secure sensitive information on companies and individuals are inevitable. As with structured data, the tools exist to manage unstructured data. It’s just a matter of making Master Data Management an enterprise-wide priority and including a method, such as identity resolution, for searching, analyzing, and managing unstructured data in conjunction with structured data.

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2008-9-8

Monday, September 8th, 2008

NOTE: We apologize for our recent technical problems. They’ve been fixed, and we don’t anticipate any further disruptions.

Hub Solution Designs: August Column in DM Review

MDM without a robust approach to data quality can be dangerous. We’ve all heard the IT cliché ‘garbage in, garbage out.’ But that is very true of building an MDM hub solution. You’re literally at the mercy of the worst data entry person in the company as you gather information from any number of source systems to feed into your new hub.”

MarketWatch: Bra thief busted

“A New York man from the regal borough of Queens was charged with selling $80,000 worth of stolen Victoria’s Secret brassieres on eBay. Over 2,000 bras ranging in value from $40 to $80 were allegedly sold by George Tutaya on the auction site. . . . The eBay aliases have since been removed but the New York Post reports that buyers were quite pleased with Tutaya’s service, which received a 100 percent approval rating.”

Confessions of a database geek: Data Quality Conference: Are you going?

“That said, if you have a strong interest in data quality, I encourage you to take a look at the conference program. Larry English and David Loshin are two of the featured speakers. (I still remember a presentation from Larry at a TDWI conference 10 years ago — he’s great.) Looking further, I see presentations ranging from metrics to politics to dictionaries.”

NOTE: We are planning on being at the conference. Let us know if you’d like to meet with us there.

The Bunker Blog: Organized Retail Theft - “Boosting For Billions” Airs On MSNBC

“On September 7th, MSNBC aired a 1-hour documentary entitled “Boosting For Billions” which took a serious look at the growing problem of Organized Retail Theft.  The program featured interviews with Jerry Biggs, ORC Division Coordinator at Walgreens, and Tony Heredia, Director, Assets Protection at Target Corporation.”

Andy on Enterprise Software: A speedy investment

“It is good to see venture firms dipping their toes back in the water of innovative enterprise software companies. A couple of years ago I came across what I thought was an interesting data quality company called Zoomix. I introduced them to a prestigious venture firm, who were entirely uninterested, at the time chasing after ever more trendy social networking websites (the company was in fact bought by Microsoft a few months ago, which would have netted a pretty decent return for the investors).”


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