Identity Theft Expert and Speaker on Personal Security Says Recent News Underscores Implications of Research Linking P2P Networks to Data Breaches

(BOSTON, Mass. – Sept. 14, 2007 – Earlier this month news outlets reported the arrest of a Seattle, Wash. man on suspicion that he committed identity theft after obtaining the needed information via peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. According to Robert Siciliano, a widely televised and quoted personal security and identity theft expert, the development was not surprising in light of computer hackers’ ingenuity and these networks’ susceptibility to security breaches. He renewed his longtime warnings against the carefree usage of P2P networks and their associated software programs.

“Peer-to-peer networks can leave computer hard drives wide-open to foul play,” said Siciliano. “Imagine how many identity thieves have slipped under the radar to obtain data through unsecured peer-to-peer networks. Hackers can easily use the window of opportunity that a P2P connection affords them to lift information from unsuspecting victims’ computers.”

CEO of and a member of the Bank Fraud & IT Security Report’s editorial board, Siciliano leads Fortune 500 companies and their clients in workshops that explore consumer education solutions for security issues. A longtime identity theft speaker and author of “The Safety Minute: 01,” he has discussed data security and consumer protection on CNBC, on NBC’s “Today Show,” FOX News, and elsewhere.

Earlier this month, Computerworld, PC World, and others ran articles detailing the arrest of a man in the Pacific Northwest on grounds that they suspected he had skimmed data from P2P networks as means to conduct identity theft-related crimes. At the time of the reports, authorities were investigating the possibility that the man had purchased more than $70,000 worth of goods under the auspices of stolen identities.

The arrest underscored the implications of research from Dartmouth University’s Tuck School of Business. The findings, reported earlier this year, suggesting that corporate data breaches trace back to peer-to-peer (P2P) network usage by employees. According to the study, the number of P2P users, already at 4 million in 2003, had more than doubled at the time the report was published, May 2007. The researchers said efforts by officials to surveil, monitor, and dissuade the use of P2P networks in the workplace have failed to keep pace with these networks’ ever-evolving, decentralized nature.

“Organization that run computer networks need to know the risks associated with peer-to-peer programs,” said Siciliano. “Employees sharing files via peer-to-peer networks unwittingly expose their employers’ proprietary databases to peer-to-peer hackers. Databases home to sensitive information such as birth dates, credit card numbers, and Social Security numbers are prime targets.”

Readers may view YouTube video of Siciliano below that shows his April 2007 appearance on “FOX 25,” the network’s Boston, Mass. affiliate. On the program, Siciliano demonstrates how P2P networks allow criminals to obtain the information needed to commit identity theft. Those wishing to learn how to protect themselves against identity theft, a concern for anyone whose data have fallen into the hands of P2P hackers, may view video of Siciliano at VideoJug.



Identity theft affects us all. Robert Siciliano, CEO of and member of the Bank Fraud & IT Security Report’s editorial board, makes it his mission to provide consumer education solutions on identity theft to Fortune 500 companies and their clients.

A leader of personal safety and security seminars nationwide, Siciliano has been featured on “The Today Show,” CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, “FOX News,” “The Suze Orman Show,” “The Montel Williams Show,” “Maury Povich,” “Sally Jesse Raphael,” “The Howard Stern Show,” and “Inside Edition.” The Privacy Learning Institute features him on its Website. Numerous magazines, print news outlets, and wire services have turned to him, as well, for expert commentary on personal security and identity theft. These include Forbes, USA Today, Entrepreneur, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, United Press International, Reuters, and others.

Visit Siciliano’s Web site,; blog,; and YouTube page,

The media are encouraged to get in touch with Siciliano directly:

Robert Siciliano, Personal Security Expert
CEO of
PHONE: 888-SICILIANO (742-4542)
FAX: 877-2-FAX-NOW (232-9669)