I was talking to a client recently and they said, “I give up! It seems like everyone who has my credit information has been breached and I just assume my information is out there”. My initial reaction was to laugh and give a high five. It is easy to be disheartened by all of the news about data breaches that bombard us day in and day out. The simple fact is there is no foolproof solution to protect you. If someone wants your data enough and is willing to devote resources and time, they will get it eventually. I know this seems doom and gloom but this is nothing new.
The more freedom we have in any aspect of our lives the more risk we face. Facebook is the perfect example of a double edged sword. On one hand you have a remarkable way of staying in communication with a wide group of people around the world. You can raise money to fight cancer, raise awareness like the Arab Spring or share pictures and stories of your kids with your family members. It is truly amazing! The flip side of that story is you now share much more about yourself to those who want to sell you products or even do you harm, cyber stalking, marketers, social engineering teams alike.
When Henry Ford came out with the model T in 1908, its top speed was 40 mph and was seen as a wealthy man’s toy. It also wasn’t particularly safe. No seat belts, no air bags, no navigation, no antilock brakes. As cars became faster, traveled further distances and became more plentiful; stronger dangers started to emerge. As technology morphs into the next generation of freedoms it will bring its own new set of challenges and risks. All that we can do is help to manage risk as best as possible. Strong, unique, complex passwords that change regularly, encrypt what you can, be wary of phishing e-mails, have up to date antivirus software, have strong firewalls, keep operating systems up to date and always monitor you accounts for unauthorized activity.
Don’t give up! You don’t have to outrun the lion; you just have to outrun 2 or three slower runners. By making yourself a harder target of opportunity most bad guys will simply go to the next target until they get shut down.
The bottom line is there are many organizations both criminal and state sponsored that are completely funded off of selling identities like yours on the dark net. They will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Strengthen your standing in the world by making smart decisions about your data.