If you read the news enough then you might begin to think that hackers are making the real world a pretty dangerous place to live in. Whether it’s hacking vehicles or guns, it’s becoming clear that no element of technology is completely safe.
Chris Rock, founder and CEO of security firm Kustodian (and no, not that Chris Rock), has recently reported that hackers are beginning to kill people off virtually, and the victims don’t even know it until they try to apply for something that requires their ID.
The Entire Process Can be Completed Without Leaving Your Computer
In the report, Rock goes into some good technical detail on the whole process, but here is the short of it.
There is a lot of sensitive information about doctors that is easily accessible to just about anyone online. Information like their license number, address, and more can all be used to set up a doctor’s account in the Electronic Death Registration System. In the report, Rock uses California’s online license verification to set up his account.
Once someone has a doctor’s account, they can fill out both death and birth certificates. That’s right. Not only can hackers technically kill someone, they can also create someone as well. There are several resources available online that instructs users on how to properly fill out a death certificate. Rock humorously suggests people not select a cause of death that might warrant a look from the coroner.
The next step of the process involves a funeral director, but guess what? Conveniently enough, you can also spend a little time online going through a process that will allow you to become a registered funeral director. In the report, Rock demonstrates the process by creating a funeral home website and filling out Australia’s funeral director application. Moments after the application is sent off, Rock receives a confirmation email that he is now permitted to submit online death registrations. This won’t work everywhere, though. The UK doesn’t have any requirements to become a funeral director, but some states in the US require certain qualifications to be met.
Why Kill Someone Off?
Rock says there are numerous reasons a hacker might want to kill someone off, but each person is going to have their own reason for wanting it to be done. Some examples he listed were people trying to claim life insurance money, or trying to commandeer their elderly parent’s estate before they actually pass.
To “hinder” people was another reason Rock said a hacker might want to off someone. Perhaps they hold a grudge against someone and want to prevent them from traveling, or maybe they’re involved in an investigation and the hacker wants to interfere with the case by killing off a judge or detective.
Sitting on the opposite spectrum of death is life, and Rock says creating someone virtually is even easier than killing them off. Here in the US a midwife can submit a birth registration application, and there are processes in place that allow people to register home births as well.
A virtual death would typically have instant results, but virtual life is basically committing to the long con. Most people who would want to create a fake birth certificate are typically looking to create a new identity for themselves. Whether it’s trying to erase a criminal record or debt, having a hacker create a new identity would certainly do the trick.