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Burglary Ring Used Facebook Places To Find Targets 152

Kilrah_il writes "A burglary ring was caught in Nashua, NH due to the vigilance of an off-duty police officer. The group is credited with 50 acts of burglary, the targets chosen because they posted their absence from home on the Internet. '"Be careful of what you post on these social networking sites," said Capt. Ron Dickerson. "We know for a fact that some of these players, some of these criminals, were looking on these sites and identifying their targets through these social networking sites."' Well, I guess the prophecies came true."
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Burglary Ring Used Facebook Places To Find Targets

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  • Re:Nothing new (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @05:50PM (#33555830)

    And Google Street View's a gift for casing the joint - checking houses without burglar alarms, or with old/cheap ones

    Yeah because you can totally see a burglar alarm from the street -- with google's resolution you can't even see if they have a sticker in the window.

  • Re:Nothing new (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @05:51PM (#33555834)
    The problem is, the media jumps on all this stuff like its brand new, thieves did the same thing ages ago. Just drive around a neighborhood where someone said at the bar they were going out of town and break in with a car with cheap magnetic decals of a cable company/telephone company/whatever.
  • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @06:09PM (#33555974) Homepage

    Regarding online safety, security through obscurity should not be overlooked. It's crap like this (and stuff in the work place) as to why I don't blab on about intimate details of my life to strangers.

  • practicalities (Score:4, Insightful)

    by merry-v ( 1160825 ) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @06:22PM (#33556092)

    i don't understand how the burglars were able to quickly trawl facebook to find :

    a) the street addresses of the people who were on holiday, not normally stored in facebook?
    b) who did not co-habit with people who were not on holiday
    c) who had stuff worth stealing
    d) living within easy driving distance of the burglar
    e) no alarm, neighborhood watch, alert neighbours etc
    f) the exact days of leaving and arriving back

    burglars already have lots of ways to find a target house without data mining social networking sites, e.g. pushing flyers half-way into letter boxes then coming back in two days to see if any are still untouched, driving buy in the evening to see if lights are off etc etc.

    is it possible that some of those got burgled who had posted about their holiday, and told the police "that must be the reason" ? I know TFA asserts that the police know the gang used facebook, but something does not add up here. seems like BS to me.

  • Re:Nothing new (Score:4, Insightful)

    by causality ( 777677 ) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @06:29PM (#33556126)

    Headline might as well be 'Bad Things Happen To Those Who Make Dumb Choices'

    I think this is another "but somehow it's different because a computer was involved!" type of issue.

  • Re:practicalities (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, 2010 @06:50PM (#33556264)

    For the street address, if people use their full name in facebook and list their town, there's a good chance that you can get a correct address from the white pages. As for whether other people will be home, if they say "family vacation", that gives a good probability that every one in the house will be gone. As to the other things you pointed out (alarm, neighborhood watch, whether they have stuff worth stealing), you're correct. They probably have to case the joint in person to get that info. But at least they know they're casing a place that will be vacant on a particular day. Someone might case my house and determine I'm an excellent prospect, but if I don't go on vacation for a year then they haven't got anything.

  • by causality ( 777677 ) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @06:54PM (#33556294)

    How much do you want to bet that the victims were using Facebook's default privacy settings...

    My default privacy settings are the best available because I don't use Facebook.

  • Re:hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jroysdon ( 201893 ) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @06:55PM (#33556300) Homepage

    Yeah, because that is so easy to predict.

    Here's the thing, when you have kids, you end up friending a ton of people you know marginally. You also find out a lot of things that you can have talks with your kids about (not mentioning any names in those talks, just bring up the topic in general... "hey, what would you do if you found out some of your friends did such and such?").

    My kids don't have Facebook accounts, but most of their IRL friends at school and church do.

    But I think this shows that you shouldn't put anything online that you don't want to put right in front of your house. Don't put up a flier "gone out of town 3 weeks" on your front door and don't put it on Facebook either. Share the photos when you get back.

    Sounds like a good topic for me and my family to talk about at dinner tonight.

  • by c_forq ( 924234 ) <forquerc+slash@gmail.com> on Sunday September 12, 2010 @06:58PM (#33556340)
    I don't understand this fear. Anyone that knows me, or follows me for even a single day, will know I'm at work 9-5 on Monday through Friday. How does posting with my location during this time change anything?
  • by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <fairwaterNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday September 12, 2010 @06:58PM (#33556342) Homepage

    Regarding online safety, security through obscurity should not be overlooked.

    As I've been saying here on Slashdot for years; the mantra so often chanted here ("security through obscurity is no security at all"), is dead wrong. Security professionals well know that obscurity is a valuable part of their arsenal - because an intruder or attacker cannot prepare in advance for a defensive or security measure he does not know is there.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, 2010 @07:39PM (#33556660)

    So you're trashing something you don't use or understand. Nice. Very Slashdot. You and causality should suck each other off in congratulations over being too cool to use Facebook, btw.

  • by causality ( 777677 ) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @07:57PM (#33556796)

    So you're trashing something you don't use or understand.

    Actually I don't use it because I understand it. Maybe you don't know this, but you can look before you leap, you can read up on something and learn something about it before deciding whether you will engage in it.

    By your false logic, every non-smoker on the planet was once a smoker since they would never know why tobacco use is detrimental to health until after trying it and experiencing worse health. There's this thing called foresight that makes that unnecessary.

    Incidentally "trashing" is a very strange term to describe calmly and honestly discussing its disadvantages. I think you have a sore point. Apparently the idea that others might have good reasons for not doing something that you have your reasons for doing is inflammatory and offensive to you. Most of the problems in the world are caused by an inability to live and let live, which in turn is rooted in mentalities like yours. You deserve every last bit of misery it causes you.

    Dispute me on that if you think you can, though at this point the prudent thing for you would be to silently disappear and pretend you didn't notice my reply.

  • Re:Nothing new (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NotQuiteReal ( 608241 ) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @08:54PM (#33557188) Journal
    Funeral notices are the classic... what close family members don't go to the funeral?
  • by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @08:57PM (#33557204) Homepage Journal

    I wish I had mod points to mod you up.

    What many people seem to fail to see is that every single datapoint one gives out can be combined with others to often paint a far clearer picture of your life and it's details than one might think. It would actually be fairly trivial to put in a few weeks of work in order to build a list of targets ripe for the picking, if that.

  • by Legion303 ( 97901 ) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @10:03PM (#33557566) Homepage

    Security through obscurity is worthless. I think what you mean is "security WITH obscurity," which is one of the levels of layered security everyone should use.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, 2010 @10:06PM (#33557576)

    "security through obscurity" is NOT "I have a hidden silent alarm and once they get inside there is a guard dog even though there are no signs"

    "security through obscurity" is "I can leave my doors unlocked because I live in the middle of nowhere" or "My house is unremarkable and small, nobody will think to rob me. I'll leave my doors unlocked." It's relying on the fact that your operating system or application software is nonstandard, so there are no pre-made rootkits for it. And relying on ONLY that for your security without making sure that your nonstandard software is actually secure, not just obscure.

    Those two are not quite the same thing. Of course hiding some of your defensive and security measures is a good idea. That's not what is meant by "security through obscurity is no security at all".

  • Re:hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jroysdon ( 201893 ) on Monday September 13, 2010 @02:44AM (#33558694) Homepage

    It's not anywhere near as straight-forward as that. Furthermore, peer pressure is difficult even with the best parenting.

  • Re:Nothing new (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Loualbano2 ( 98133 ) on Monday September 13, 2010 @07:52AM (#33559746)

    No, not displacement behavior.

    Admittedly I was harsh, and overly so. I wouldn't normally say anything, but I guess not today.

    The problem is, I don't see the inadequate dick thing as a joke anymore, because it's what a lot of people think, and they are serious about it. It happens on the web and in real life. I personally have been and seen other men accused of having a small pecker in casual conversation, mostly by women, when talking about traditionally masculine things like the aforementioned fast cars and firearms. I know girls that swear up and down they can tell a man's size by his car and other things like that. Most girls will tell you the same thing about a guy who has a lot of muscles. On the other hand, if I decide a girl's a slut based off her clothes, I'm an asshole even if I am right.

    Even more aggravating are other men who subscribe to the same compensation rhetoric, basically selling themselves out.

    Also, emasculation in general seems to be accepted by the general public as perfectly fine. If I was to liken too many shoes to insecurity of women, or something along those lines, I would be skewered. If my friends wife wears too much make up, and as a 'joke' I said she looks like a hooker, hell would break loose, and rightly so. If that same women made a 'joke' about my dick in any fashion it's not only perfectly acceptable, but I have to sit and take it, otherwise be accused of proving that she is right.

    I'm not going to sit and take it anymore. From now on I am going to call people on it because it's a stereotype that needs to die. It's fucked up that men can't enjoy certain stuff without being accused of 'compensating'.

    Not everything is about dicks, that's the point I was trying to make.

  • by david_thornley ( 598059 ) on Monday September 13, 2010 @11:56AM (#33561854)

    I have very open privacy settings. I don't trust Facebook with any degree of privacy, and with my privacy settings set to, essentially, everybody, I don't have any false sense of security. I never put anything on Facebook I don't want the whole world to see (except Mom, who isn't on line), so why restrict it anyway?

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling