Your identity is more valuable than money

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Cyber theft has long replaced the ‘traditional’ concept of bank robberies. A much more sophisticated method of attack that has been in use for years has accelerated of late as a slew of hacks across the world has proven.

Recent international targets, including the US Federal Reserve, the Central Bank of the Philippines and Qatar National Bank (QNB) in Doha, have all been subject to notable security breaches.

What’s striking, however, is the fact that in some instances, no money is being stolen. In QNB’s case it was a robbery of data – hundreds of customers account details, including their passwords, their social media profiles, were posted onto a whistleblower website. No one really knows what’s behind it, but it proved that data is alomost more valuable that money these days.

Where once the main purpose behind this activity was to make money, hacking and leaking information has now escalated into issues as prominent as state secrets, government intelligence and political gain as part of the ‘hacktivism’ movement.

With safety of the consumer remaining an issue due to the slow-paced movements of the enterprise world versus that of the ever-evolving technological capacity of the hacking world, the public is forced to brace for further and harder hitting attacks in times to come.

Are businesses doing enough to protect their customers’ data?

There are two sides to this, specifically. One is that a business protects your data while they hold it. The other is that a business truly destroys your data when they tell you it is no longer there.

The latter issue was highlighted recently when someone tried to use the New Zealand courts to get access to another New Zealander’s emails. The email owner said they were deleted, so the litigant asked the court to force the ISP to produce the emails, in any way they could.

I’m working on a “When is deleted really deleted?” story, which will be published this week.

 

– Pete / Al Jazeera


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