- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy and the editor of the Passport blog. He has worked as a researcher, editorial assistant, and deputy Web editor since joining the FP staff in 2007. In addition to being featured in Foreign Policy, his writing has been published by the Washington Post, Newsweek International, Radio Prague, the Center for Defense Information, and Romania's Adevarul newspaper. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN International, C-Span, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC radio, and others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he studied comparative politics at Oberlin College.
In a speech in Hong Kong arguing that cybercrime may be "one of the most dangerous criminal threats ever," and detailing his organization’s efforst to counter it, Interpol Chief Ronald K. Noble told this harrowing tale of his own brush with online identity theft:
[E]ven with the best standards in place, security incidents can always happen.
Just recently INTERPOL’s Information Security Incident Response Team discovered two Facebook profiles attempting to assume my identity as INTERPOL’s Secretary General.
One of the impersonators was using this profile to try to obtain information on fugitives
targeted during our recent Operation Infra Red. This Operation was bringing investigators from 29 member countries at the INTERPOL General Secretariat to exchange information on international fugitives and lead to more than 130 arrests in 32 countries.
Noble didn’t go into details about how much success the cyberfraudsters got with their ruse — some of the press reports have been a tad misleading in this regard — but frankly, if this is the level cybercriminals are operating on, I don’t think we have much to worry about.
It’s perfectly fine that Noble has an official Facebook profile, but I would certainly hope he’s not using it to share and obtain information with other law enforcement officials. I’m trying to imagine how the fake Ronald Nobles would go about trying to deceive their marks: "Hey there, it’s Ron from Interpol. Just postin’ on ur wall to see how that big organized crime investigation is going. Please send me all the deets including names of suspects and plans for future operations! TTYL!!!"
If fake Facebook pages are really a threat to Interpol security, they probably have bigger things to worry about.