We’re so naïve. Without apprehension or care, we put our confidence in businesses, corporations and organizations. With every transaction, appointment and purchase, we’re trusting that these companies have the proper security measures in place. We’re trusting they won’t get breached. We swipe, click and sign our personal information away. And we keep our fingers crossed.
Battered, Bruised and Breached
According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, over 22 million personal data records were leaked due to breaches in 2011. And the statistics are frightening.
Javelin Strategy & Research Reports:
- From 2010 o 2011, there was a 67% increase in consumer breach notifications
- 43% of data breach victims lost credit card numbers
- 22% of data breach victims lost debit card numbers
- You are 9.5 times more likely to experience fraud if you receive a breach notification
- 19% of breach notification recipients were fraud victims
The numbers are shocking enough. But what’s worse? We’ve responded with apathy. Instead of reacting to the increase in breaches with fear, anger or incitement, we’re becoming numb.
Be it to banks, mortgage lenders, medical companies or consumer corporations, we provide our credit card information, our Social Security numbers and often a whole lot more. And we blindly trust that our information will be safe.
We never question. We have not changed our habits. We don’t even complain.
Last year was a banner year for the so-called hacktivist (a portmanteau of hacker and activist). These groups seek out companies with loose security measures and hack their databases with the sole purpose of proving a point. They often claim to be fighting against social injustices and weak security measures. For more information on hactivists, click here.
But judging by the two already huge breaches this year (Global Payments and Utah Medicaid), it appears not much has changed. Although the hactivists have succeeded in raising awareness, they have also shown us how little control we have over our personal information.
So what can we do? Besides suggesting we all become paranoid recluses, I have no brilliant solution to the problem. But I know that apathy is not the answer. Whether it be hactivism or activism, something needs to be done to gain back control of our personal information.
Source: ID Theft Resource Center. “2011 ITRC Breach Report.” February, 2012.
Source: Javelin Strategy & Research. “2012 Identity Fraud Report: Social Media and Mobile Forming the New Fraud Frontier.” February 2012.