Feds: Massive identity theft ring stole 400 million sonogram pictures, created database in Eastern Europe | Bob's Blitz

Feds: Massive identity theft ring stole 400 million sonogram pictures, created database in Eastern Europe

Washington, DC -- Human sonograms are detailed, unique, difficult to alter and durable over the life of an individual making them suitable as long-term markers of human identity that may be employed by police or other authorities to identify individuals who wish to conceal their identity, or to identify people who are incapacitated or deceased and thus unable to identify themselves, as in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Sonogram analysis, in use since the early 20th century, has led to many crimes being solved.

And now they've led to a massive crime in and of themselves.

In November and December 2014, cyber thieves executed a successful cyber attack against popular photo sharing services. The attackers surreptitiously gained access to the aforementioned computer networks, stole the sonograms and personal information of as many as 410 million not yet internet users and then removed this sensitive information from the named networks to a server in Eastern Europe. (The sonogram above has had the fetus' face barred for its protection.)

The newly created massive sonogram database rivals the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or IAFIS, a national fingerprint and criminal history system that responds to requests 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to help the FBI's local, state, and federal partners—and their own investigators—solve and prevent crime and catch criminals and terrorists. Rivals? Its 400+ million picture database dwarfs the IAFIS. IAFIS houses the fingerprints and criminal histories for just more than 70 million subjects in the criminal master file, along with more than 34 million civil prints. (Included in the criminal database are fingerprints from 73,000 known and suspected terrorists processed by the U.S. or by international law enforcement agencies who work with the FBI.)

Interestingly, not only fingerprints, but corresponding criminal histories; mug shots; scars and tattoo photos; physical characteristics like height, weight, and hair and eye color; and aliases are stored in IAFIS. The system also includes civil fingerprints, mostly of individuals who have served or are serving in the U.S. military or have been or are employed by the federal government. The fingerprints and criminal history information are submitted voluntarily by state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies.

The potential for identity fraud as the fetuses in the new database reach legal age is massive.

Earlier this month, a federal grand jury in Pennsylvania indicted 16 people, most from New York with ties to Nigeria, in a massive identity theft and tax return scam that affected an estimated 11,000 people.

The group is accused of opening nearly 3,500 fraudulent bank accounts involving more than 440 financial institutions back in November and December 2005. They also used the stolen identities to submit tax returns claiming $38 million in refunds for tax years 2010 to 2013. More than $10 million of those fraudulent refunds were actually paid out by the IRS.

Imagine what they could do with four hundred million.

Check your privacy settings. Right now.

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