Protecting your data when others don’t
While browsing for current cybersecurity stories, I came across this recent article. Writing for The Hill, 4iQ CEO Monica Pal makes a salient point.
For all the news they make and all the trouble they face, companies like Facebook and Google are not ultimately the ones due the most concern. Google+ has now gone under, and no matter the lawsuits, the negative media coverage, or any new regulations, they’re going to be just fine. It’s harder to say the same as confidently for those whose information was compromised.
Pal notes certain types of fraud Google has left its users open to, such as cyber criminals combining the stolen information with falsified new data to make new identities or purchases, or social engineering attacks. When these failures occur, it’s incumbent on the breached companies to offer the necessary assistance to their users to protect against these sorts of risks. Of course, we’ve already observed that Facebook has no current plans to provide its own (latest) 30 million data breach victims with free identity theft monitoring services.
Nevertheless, it remains a point of emphasis of the article that there is no better substitute for protecting one’s data than consumer vigilance. This is a key point that we’ve argued for here in the past. Monitoring your accounts, looking for credit monitoring services, watching for alerts or any suspicious purchases; all are helpful options. The article also recommends using different passwords across your online accounts, so that if one is exposed, the fallout will be limited.
I wonder how many more people at this point are aware of these steps than in previous breaches—how much of the incessant coverage of the endless cybersecurity incidents has truly sunk in.
In the meantime, Facebook continues to take some action to address their continued security woes. Reports have come out this week that the company is looking to acquire a cybersecurity firm in the hopes of enhancing their protective capabilities and preventing future scandals like the multiple they’ve already endured. A deal is expected to be announced soon.
The fact that Facebook can so quickly go out and buy a major cybersecurity company, unsurprising as it is, speaks to the point. They’re going to be just fine. Make sure you take reasonable precautions so you can say the same.