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The reformed conman that the 2002 film ‘Catch Me If You Can’ is based on has told The Times that anyone living in the US or UK has already had their identity stolen.
Frank Abagnale was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison in 1971 after 12 countries attempted to seek his extradition from France on fraud charges. Since his release he has worked as a security consultant, both for the FBI and private companies.
“We live in a too-much-information world,” Abagnale said. “You should know, whether you live in the US or in the UK, that your identity has already been stolen.”
Much of this is down to carelessness, rather than highly sophisticated hacks, with Metro reporting that in his consultancy work “he will drop memory sticks marked with ‘Confidential’ on the floor of the office. They are inevitably picked up by an employee and inserted into a work computer – releasing the bug he has placed on it into the system.”
“You fight technology with technology so you have to stay one step ahead of the criminal. It’s very much a chess game — they make a move, you have to make a move,” Abignale said. “Every breach you look at occurred because somebody inside did something they weren’t supposed to do. Sometimes there’s an accomplice but most of the time it’s innocent.”
Catch Me If You Can, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the lead, followed the exploits of Abagnale in the 1960s as he posed as an airline pilot, a doctor, a lawyer and university lecturer before he was captured and imprisoned.
Featureflash / Shutterstock.com
Author Alan Martin, ESET