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Re: Risk of using SS#s (last 4 digits) for authentication
From: Gordon Ewasiuk <gewasiuk () unixfanatic com>
Date: Fri, 8 Nov 2002 20:54:17 -0500 (EST)

On Mon, 4 Nov 2002, noconflic wrote:

Date: Mon, 4 Nov 2002 21:23:11 -0600
From: noconflic <nocon () texas-shooters com>

[jblii () hotmail com] Sat, Nov 02, 2002 at 10:59:55AM -0500 wrote:
We are currently considerring the limited use of employee's Social Security
numbers to authenticate them when they request a password reset from the
Help Desk.  We have chosen two items (in total) for authenticating them:
their employee # and the last 4 digits of their SS#.  Only the last 4
digits would be stored in the Help Desk app, and these would be viewable
only by Help Desk technicians.  They would only be able to see them by
selecting a specific toolbar button (the SS# screen would not visible at
all times).

JBL

  Hrmf, not really sure myself but here is some info to maybe help
you in making that decsion. ;-) I know a lot of company's use last
four digits to somewhat aid in verifing a person's identity. That
said, i guess one issue would be some sort of "Social Engineering"
between those who view the last 4 digits and the person who the
last 4 digits belong to. I guess it would be a matter of employee
/customer trust.

http://www.privacy.ca.gov/ssn/ssn.htm
http://www.howstuffworks.com/social-security-number.htm
http://www.cpsr.org/cpsr/privacy/ssn/ssn.structure.html
http://www.usdoj.gov/04foia/1974ssnu.htm

Isn't it possible to obtain the first three digits...if the person's place
of birth is known?  Would such information be on file with the person's HR
department?  At worst, it could be obtained via casual conversation...

I'd never, ever, ever even think about using SSN to validate anybody,
anywhere.  There is just too much potential for abuse.  Online identity
theft is already the rage.

Consider something like SecurID or s/key or something...using SSNs
anywhere is bad mojo.

regards,

-gordon



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