In light of recent events, our society has developed an obsession with data – and, no, we don’t mean facts or statistics or the ones and zeroes that your computer is made up of. We specifically mean your personal data – you know, the likes and photos you share on social media or the government IDs and social insurance numbers that you provide to your local bank or employers. All of that information is stored somewhere. Our personal data is worth something and we rarely ever think about protecting it.
Data has become such an integral part of our daily lives that we sometimes forget who we give it to. Last year, hackers attacked the largest bank in the United States, JPMorgan Chase, where 76 million households and 7 million small business accounts were compromised. Financial information from these accounts was accessed, with more than 90 of the bank’s servers affected.
Similarly due to the recent onslaught of cyber-attacks on major businesses and retail stores (such as Target and Home Depot), there is a growing awareness of the need to protect ones digital footprint. These cases make it particularly evident that it is not just ordinary people like us who have insufficient security to protect our content. Wall Street institutions are subjected and vulnerable to cybercrime and data breaches too.
With more and more businesses and corporations migrating their economy to computer networks, it is mandatory for any kind of business to build a dependable privacy network and a secure plan prior to a data breach.
Amongst the volume of incidents and breaches skyrocketing, the use of the latest data-mining technologies as well as a host of new cyber-threats and attacks, there is a call for dramatically reformed approaches for the protection of all sensitive content.
“If your client is fully aware of the fact that you have a secure privacy network in place, they will have a much more openness [and trust] that you need in order to do business with them,” said Teresa Scrivens, owner and founder of Runway Networking, when talking about the importance of client-business interactions.
But it is not just businesses here that should be responsible in securing your privacy. You should also take steps to ensure that the information you give out, remains secure and private. Sometimes, we forget that our personal information is collected, used and shared companies (and by companies we refer to not just social media networks, but banks, pharmacies, retail and grocery stores). All businesses store your personal data in some way, and what we should remember is that this data can be accessed without our consent. Whether it is through data mining or just plain invasive third parties trying to get your information, personal profiles have the ability to be accessed without the consent of the content creators.
“All of us have all sorts of information whether it is our personal information about employment, our information on our taxes, our medical history, and our banking for example,” said Barbara Streiftau, a marketing specialist of ALTIS Professionals, about the kind of information we as consumers or clients share.
Internet criminals have an abundance of data that they can use against you. So what can you do? Protect your passwords, surf the internet with care, be wary of who you give information to online, through emails or phone calls. Make sure that you maintain security features on not just your computers, but also on your smartphones and tablets too. It is this kind of intelligence that is essential to protect your private and secure data and we will be discussing these topics in the next few pieces of this series.
The lesson is clear: data is valuable and can impact the lives of individual consumers and businesses. Anyone can be endangered to cyber-attacks and breaches. Once we address this issue in a manner that can mitigate potential ramifications will we be finally able to fully protect our privacy and any (if not all) sensitive information.
Haydee Santos is a XAHIVE Communications Officer. XAHIVE is a Canadian communications platform. Its objective is to ensure secure and private communication. It is an app than can be used on smartphones and computers and allows users to communicate publicly and privately.
Publicly, XAHIVE facilitates direct communication between all users in a nearby radius. Users can “buzz” to share files, photos and messages with others in their local area. The app also uses unique end point encryption options that allow users to send their messages privately to the user of their choice, no matter the distance.