Security experts are saying that Apple’s iPod is the newest rage. Not among the teen set, Gen-Xers, or even baby boomers, but among criminals.
Now, it’s true that the use isn’t novel, just the choice of device, but as Marshall Mcluhan so deftly noted, the medium is the message.
So what is it about the iPod which makes it so popular with the criminal element? It’s size, both it’s physical size, and its storage capacity.
You see, criminals are using the iPod to nab corporate data from business computers, store it on their iPod, and then broker it at will.
Now, this is nothing new – corporate espionage has been around forever, and so have data theft. But an iPod raises a lot fewer eyebrows when carried into an office suite, or out in plain sight near a target computer. If Aunty was visiting your office and whipped out a thumb drive, you might wonder what she was up to, but let her fondle her iPod and you’ll just think that she has a poorly-timed jones for some music.
Observes Abe Usher, of Sharp Ideas consulting in Virginia, “The iPod has wide adoption, is overlooked by security, and has large storage space. CDs and floppy disks are not ‘as dangerous’ because they lack the space that an iPod has, and carrying a stack of CD-ROMs around is more conspicuous than carrying an iPod.”
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Unfortunately, iPods are also popular with criminals in another context – particularly in large cities it is becoming increasingly common for someone carrying an iPod to be the victim of a violent crime over which the iPod itself is the thief’s target.
In fact, both the iPod and head Apple Steve Jobs made the news last week when Jobs called the anguished father of a New York teenager who had been slain as rival teens relieved him of his iPod.
Errol Rose, who was preparing for his 15-year-old son Christopher’s funeral, told the New York Times that Jobs’ call was completely unexpected.
“He told me that he understood my pain. Some people talk to you like they’re something remote. He was so familiar. After every word, he paused, as if each word he said came from his heart. He told me if there is anything, anything, anything he could do, to not be afraid to call him. It really lightened me a bit.”
Say what you will about Steve Jobs, that was a class move.
So remember, next time you see someone rocking out to their iPod, you may be looking at a criminal mastermind. Or the next criminal target.
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