By late next year, a new tool that helps social media users avoid identity theft will be available. Currently, the Internet Commerce Security Laboratory (ICSL) at the University of Ballarat in Australiais working on the new tool, IDThief, which aims to help social media users thwart identity thieves on the Internet.
How IDThief Works
According to Paul Watters, an associate professor and director of the ICSL, their aim is to help make users more aware of the personal information that they tend to disclose online, as these can be used by identity thieves. IDThief works by searching for information like dates and places of birth, the mother’s maiden name, and so on. Based on the information, the tool makes a report, which provides a person with his or her “risk rating.” In turn, this helps them become more aware of what can be done with their personal information.
Notably, the ICSL is a joint venture between the Australian Federal Police, IBM, the University of Ballarat, the Victorian government, and Westpac. It can be recalled that just last week, the Australian Federal Police and international authorities worked together in dealing with an organized crime gang fromRomania. In that particular case, information was taken from 30,000 Australian credit cards and used in transactions amounting to over $30 million.
Staying Safe Online
Professor Watters further explains that when a person shares personal data on Facebook, with or without privacy controls, and adds people that he or she does not really know, there is a big risk of that information being leaked. Fortunately, IDThief is set to be completed by the middle of next year, and eventually released before the end of the year. What’s more, the developers are hoping to make the tool available for free to users.
In the meantime, the ICSK is also developing an application related to authorship on social media. Professor Watters shares that it aims to help people deal with online trolls who use fake names. The application could also be utilized in detecting plagiarism and interaction between criminal groups.