Don’t be CyberFooled
CSO Online reports that a severe lack of comprehension among Yahoo executives led to the failure to investigate the two major breaches from a few years ago. Those at the top underestimated the ubiquitous threat of data breaches, and as a result, 500 million accounts were compromised.
I would go further; I think it’s safe to argue that this ignorance extends beyond one corporation, or even an entire industry. Government agencies and consumers alike also need to bolster their cybersecurity awareness. After all, the heightened interest shown by US Customs and Border Protection agents in forcibly unlocking/searching travelers’ phones and other devices potentially puts sensitive company data at greater risk of being accessed by unauthorized individuals. Such a carefree approach opens the door to inadvertent breaches.
In addition, earlier this month, the Federal Communications Commission elected to curb requirements involving an Internet Service Provider’s responsibility to protect consumer data from theft and data breaches. Because that sounds like a fantastic idea. Consumer groups naturally opposed this move, citing the regulations as necessary for the customers’ benefit, but this seems more geared toward helping telecoms compete with Google and Facebook, which have looser regulations, than consumers. That is, the people it should actually be serving.
“To do away with these essential protections through the Congressional Review Act would be shortsighted,” says Consumer Reports staff attorney Katherine McInnis. “The Commission should not be prevented from acting—now or in the future—in the public’s interest to protect consumers’ online privacy.”
And unfortunately, sometimes it’s hard not to conclude that we consumers will need all the help we can get. The spread of the Internet of Things and smart devices continues to connect more and more of lives, across all areas. This means a broader attack surface for hackers. Malicious attackers can remotely hack devices and, say, secretly activate your phone’s camera or mic. They can even take over a baby monitor. It makes you wonder whether we are educated enough on the subject to be intelligently prepared. Mic.com uses the example of buying a car, and how cars today come with so much technological hoopla, buyers might not have the savvy to realize the cyber vulnerabilities this creates. Going forward, it’s imperative that data security become a part of product consideration, on everyone’s part.
Otherwise, that 500 million will seem miniscule next to breaches to come.