Hackers have reportedly stolen years of Romney’s 1040 tax returns from PricewaterhouseCoopers Nashville office last Wednesday. This claim has yet to be proven true, but let’s assume for a moment it is true. What is remarkable, politics notwithstanding, is the low tech means the hackers used to pull off the theft.
From the statement on Pastebin:
Romney’s 1040 tax returns were taken from the PWC office 8/25/2012 by gaining access to the third floor via a gentleman working on the 3rd floor of the building. Once on the 3rd floor, the team moved down the stairs to the 2nd floor and setup shop in an empty office room. During the night, suite 260 was entered, and all available 1040 tax forms for Romney were copied.
This was no Girl with the Dragon Tattoo over the wire through the computer hack. This was an old fashioned Social Engineering, gaining the trust of an employee to let them in the office hack.
The lesson to be learned:
Physical building security is just as important as electronic computer security.
- Do not “buzz” or let people into a building if you personally do not know them.
- Do not let people into secured spaces if they do not have the appropriate identification.
- In your building if you see someone who is a stranger or someone who does not seem to belong, take a coworker or a friend and ask the individual if they need assistance. Contact NUPD if their story seems suspicious or they make you feel uncomfortable.
We may never know if the Romney tax return theft is true but with these simple steps we can ensure our own private information is secure and safe from thieves.