In a prepared speech [PDF] to the 1st INTERPOL Information Security Conference, INTERPOL’s Secretary General, Ronald K. Noble mentioned that even a powerful law enforcement officer such as himself is not immune to hackers attempting to steal his identity. Noble commented:

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 also picked up on Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s comments of “true transparency” that we wrote about a couple of weeks ago:

I strongly believe that building bridges and confidence in relationships between police and the public and private sectors will be crucial in facing the challenges posed to us by cybercrime globally.
Let me share an idea with you before I leave the floor.
I was reading recently an interview with Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt. He was saying that the World Wide Web would have to evolve from anonymity to what he calls “true transparency” because, he said, “in a world of asynchronous threats, it is too dangerous for there not to be some way to identify you.”
If some kind of a verified name service for the internet is to be created –– and I believe one should be –– then we will need exactly this type of bridging between police and the public and private sectors, as well as with citizens rights groups and other NGOs to be able to do it.
I think this is something we should start discussing. And here again, INTERPOL can and will play a central role as a discussion forum for law enforcement and in building bridges with all other stakeholders.

Of course, you may read this the same way you read “I’m from the IRS and I’m here to help you.” Or, you may view this as the ‘White Hats’ coming in to save the town. Either way you look at it, this type of bridging the police/security world and the online world is with us. It will be interesting to see how these “bridges” that are built between the police community, information security professionals and the private and public sectors are used.

  • I'm not sure which is more frightening, INTERPOL Secretary General with a Facebook account that gets hacked, or the notion of one single repository of information that identifies all netizens in order to come up with a unique ID for each. Just hack that db and you have everything. I understand why this sounds like a good idea, but come on.

  • I'm sure that db would be protected like Nuclear secrets… that's worked out okay, right??

  • There are always circumstances where people will need to be anonymous. Think of all of the great literature we'd be without if people couldn't have published anonymously. Or all of the personal accounts of political struggles that we'd never have known. While we might not have as much cybercrime (or perhaps just as much because the miscreants will find a work around), people who need anonimity to research domestic violence safety plans or child abuse or STDs are going to find another avenue closed to them. -K

  • Anonymous

    "I'm not sure which is more frightening, INTERPOL Secretary General with a Facebook account that gets hacked"
    It wasn't hacked, actually. He didn't have any account on FBK (but the interpol organization itself has), someone has created two account with his name, that's all.

    Anyway, on twitter the accounts of fame people are "verified", why not on facebook ?

    But that's not really the problem.

    We don't know a lot about this story. We know two accounts were created to obtain infos, but we don't know if it succeeded or not. If it did, it means that some people of Interpol send infos to the fake-big-chief thinking it was the real one.
    If you want my opinion, the problem is not the internet, not the anonymity, it's the stupidity of Interpol employees. I mean, seriously, if they work at the Interpol they have his real email adress, they have some contacts…

    If no info were obtained, then he shouldn't make a big fuss about it.