APG-L ArchivesArchiver > APG > 2009-07 > 1247056356
From: Elizabeth Whitaker <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Social Security numbers
Date: Wed, 08 Jul 2009 08:32:36 -0400
References: <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com><680E25C0F7644E39ABD530A8E9FE1AC2@YOUR58BA15CF1B>
I'm very skeptical as well about the feasibility of crooks' hacking
Social Security numbers for three reasons:
1. Crooks are averse to effort. That is why they are crooks.
(I've known some criminals, having lived in small towns with
high crime rates, and I have close relatives who worked in
prisons and jails in roles which involved frequent contact
2. The Social Security Administration has very strong rules about
who can use their computer systems, which computer systems
[They have multiple databases and such, even in the field
offices.], and for what. (I worked at an SSA field office for
two months while I was working on my M.A.) I don't
have the expertise to rate the technical security of the SSA
systems, but they're apparently very high level.
3. Not everyone who applied for a Social Security number
prior to 1988 (or whenever it was that an SSN became
required for newborns) was born in the state in which
they applied. Four examples are my parents, one of
my sisters and myself.
Richard A. Pence wrote:
> You make it sound so easy, Rondina.
> Let's suppose for an instant that some clever gal hacked into your insurance
> company database and among the records she came away with was your name an
> address and, ah, yes, those last four digits of your Social Security number.
> Let's further say that this clever hacker is now about to really demonstrate
> how clever she is: She is going to write an algorithm which will tell her
> the first five digits of your Social Security number.
> Tell you what. I'll even throw in something you didn't mention. Your birth
> Now, first how is our crook going to know that the birth record is for the
> same person for whom she has the four digits - unless she is your niece and
> knows your maiden name and where you were born and possibly when. But even
> if she knows all of that she still would have to know exactly when and where
> you got your Social Security number in order to get the rest of the numbers.
> Everyone gives crooks so much credit. In fact, they are endowed with such
> brilliance when it comes to figuring out things like Social Security numbers
> that I once wrote an article entitled "One More Reason I Would Make a Lousy
> Crook." I was lamenting the fact that a California Senator had pointed out
> that if the California Birth Index was left on line the identity theft
> crooks would have a field day. And I was stuck wondering how in the hell a
> crook knew that Judy Kronsnable, born in San Jose, was now the wife of
> Casper Littleguy and living in South Carolina. Under his name. These crooks
> are really clever. (See ttp://www.pipeline.com/~richardpence/crook.htm)
|Re: [APG] Social Security numbers by Elizabeth Whitaker <>|