“Data Protection” and “Digital Security” are quickly becoming the hottest issues of our time. As companies, countries, and individuals wrestle with privacy breaches, cyber threats, and stronger security protocol implementations, hackers seem to find new and inspiring ways of quickly catching up.
Ashley Madison, the adults-only website devoted to connecting individuals for “casual encounters,” was hacked. And as the names, emails and credit card numbers of 33 million registered accounts were released, users who had been promised privacy by a website that markets itself as “the last truly secure place on the internet” were served a mega sized wake up call: nothing we put on the internet is private. Nothing.
Without getting carried away, the information we post on the internet isn’t guaranteed to be hacked, however every piece of data we store on the net has a potential to be stolen and exposed. As Charlie Osborne stated for ZDNet, “We’re kidding ourselves if we think email is secure, if our Facebook accounts will never be compromised, and our pursuit of on-the-side affairs through the Web are risk-free.”
The internet is not exactly a “secret keeper” (Check out this handy infographic that explains just how much of your data is actually on the internet). Personal information theft and privacy breaches of companies and government institutions are becoming routine enough to simply be brushed aside. And separating yourself from the network (living “off the grid”) and storing data on a disconnected computer doesn’t seem to offer much protection. Hackers can still get in by using little more than an old school phone.
So what is a data-filled, privacy seeking internet user to do? Simple: don’t share anything electronically that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to find out about.
Image source: “Infographic: How Much of Your Data is on the Net?” PC Mag (SecurityWatch), Abigail Wang, July 15, 2013.