The U.S. Social Aegis Administration announced aftermost anniversary that it will now crave a corpuscle buzz cardinal from all Americans who ambition to administer their retirement allowances at ssa.gov. Unfortunately, the new security admeasurement does little to anticipate character thieves from fraudulently creating online accounts to carry allowances from Americans who haven’t yet created accounts for themselves.
The SSA said all new and absolute ‘my Social Security’ annual holders will charge to accommodate a corpuscle buzz number. The bureau said it will use the adaptable numbers to accelerate users an 8-digit cipher via argument bulletin that needs to be entered forth with a username and countersign to log in to the site.
The SSA noted it was authoritative the change to accede with an controlling adjustment for federal agencies to accommodate added defended affidavit for their online services.
“People will not be able to admission their claimed my Social Aegis annual if they do not accept a corpuscle buzz or do not ambition to accommodate the corpuscle buzz number,” the bureau said. “The purpose of accouterment your corpuscle buzz cardinal is that, anniversary time you log in to your annual with your username and password, we will accelerate you a ancient aegis cipher you charge additionally admission to log in auspiciously to your account. We apprehend to accommodate added options in the future, abased aloft requirements of civic guidelines currently actuality revised.”
Although the SSA’s action change provides additional proof that the being signing in is the aforementioned alone who accustomed multi-factor affidavit in the the aboriginal place, it does not arise to accommodate any added affidavit that the being creating an annual at ssa.gov is who they say they are.
The SSA does offer other “extra security” options, such as the sending users a appropriate cipher via the U.S. Mail that has to be entered on the agency’s armpit to complete the signup process. If you accept to accredit added security, the SSA will again ask you for:
Sadly, it is still almost accessible for thieves to actualize an annual in the name of Americans who accept not already created one for themselves. All one would charge is the target’s name, date of birth, Social Aegis number, residential address, and buzz number. This claimed abstracts can be bought for almost $3-$4 from a array of cybercrime shops online.
After that, the SSA relays four multiple-guess, alleged “knowledge-based authentication” or KBA questions from acclaim bureau Equifax. In practice, abounding of these KBA questions — such as antecedent address, accommodation amounts and dates — can be auspiciously abundant with accidental guessing. What’s more, actual generally the answers to these questions can be begin by consulting chargeless online services, such as Zillow and Facebook.
In September 2013, I warned that SSA and banking institutions were tracking a acceleration in cases wherein character thieves annals an annual at the SSA’s aperture application a retiree’s claimed admonition and accept the victim’s allowances absent to prepaid debit cards that the crooks control. Unfortunately, because the SSA’s new aegis appearance are optional, they do little to block crooks from hijacking SSA annual payments from retirees.
Because it’s accessible to actualize aloof one my Social Security account per Social Aegis number, registering an annual on the aperture is one basal way that Americans can abstain acceptable victims of this scam.
To recap: Once you authorize and verify your annual and alpha accepting texted codes to login, from again on you will be added secure. If you accept not active up already, these new aegis options do not accomplish it any added difficult for accession abroad to assurance up as you.
Considering that many senior citizens are still alert of argument belletrist and acceptable accept never beatific or accustomed one, it’s not bright that these alternative aegis measures will go over well. I would like to see the SSA accomplish it binding to accept a ancient cipher via the U.S. Mail to agree the conception of all new accounts, whether or not users opt for “extra security.” Perhaps the bureau will crave this in the future, but it’s mystifying to me why it doesn’t already do this by default.
In accession to the SSA’s alternative aegis measures, Americans can added block ID thieves by agreement a aegis benumb on their acclaim files with the above acclaim bureaus. Readers who accept taken my amaranthine admonition to benumb their acclaim will charge to briefly thaw the benumb in adjustment to complete the action of creating an annual at ssa.gov. Looked at addition way, accepting a benumb in abode blocks ID thieves from fraudulently creating an annual in your name and potentially breach your government benefits.
Alternatively, citizens can block online admission to their Social Aegis account. Instructions for accomplishing that are here.
The SSA’s new argument messaging arrangement is allegedly experiencing some abstruse difficulties at the moment, at atomic for Verizon Wireless customers. The SSA acquaint this bulletin on its armpit over the weekend: “We are alive to fix a botheration that is preventing Verizon wireless barter from accepting the corpuscle buzz aegis code. Verizon wireless barter are clumsy to admission their claimed my Social Security account at this time.”
Update, 1:00 p.m. ET: For the record, I requested animadversion from the SSA about why they did not allegedly acquaintance all users by U.S. mail to verify their identities. I accustomed the afterward response:
“The Social Aegis Administration protects the admonition entrusted to us and has adequate the online allotment action by authoritative character analysis and affidavit added stringent. We cannot accommodate added capacity about as we don’t appetite to draw a roadmap for criminals.”
Also, as one clairvoyant already acicular out in the comments below, the SSA’s acceptance of 2-factor SMS affidavit comes as the Civic Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) arise a abstract of new affidavit guidelines that arise to be phasing out the use of SMS-based two-factor authentication.
Update, Aug. 11, 2016: A antecedent who helped me analysis some things for this adventure by signing up at the SSA’s aperture said he accustomed a snail mail letter the added day advice him that accession active up an annual in his name online. So, the SSA is commitment belletrist if you assurance up online, but they don’t booty that befalling to bear a appropriate cipher to deeply complete the assurance up. Go figure.
Tags: my Social Aegis portal, aegis freeze, Social Aegis Administration, two-factor authentication
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