What the government shutdown could mean for the security of your personal information
It looks like 2019 is already presenting unique issues for cybersecurity stewards and experts alike. The Daily Orange states that many customers remain unaware that their credit or debit card information gets stored in a company database when they use them at payment terminals. While this is undoubtedly true, I would add that consumers in early 2019 are more cognizant of this risk than at any other point in (a relatively brief) history.
Unfortunately, a consumer can be as informed as they like, but their risk becomes that much greater when circumstances impede those who are tasked with protecting sensitive data. Yet that is precisely one result of the continued US government shutdown. With fewer people able to monitor systems, as well as a decrease in cybersecurity resources, the threats multiply. The opportunities for cyber criminals to attack even the networks of critical national infrastructure present themselves in even clearer light. We might not even learn about the damage done for some time.
Things were already on somewhat unsettled ground thanks to the chaos of the stock market these past few months. Tech companies have been taking heavy hits on Wall Street, and according to CSO Online, “if the economy continues along its shaky path, CIOs, CSOs and CISOs will need to get more creative in terms of how they can trim their budgets while still maintaining an effective security stance.” Generally, we use this blog to advocate following best security standards and practices. Of course, as any number of businesses already know, this is not often a cheap endeavor. Personal data is “the new currency,” and keeping it safe takes a more traditional currency. But if less of the latter is available, security efforts will need to be supplemented with smarter executive and IT decisions.
And let’s not forget good old-fashioned ‘physical’ data breaches, which don’t get reported as frequently in this day and age, but still pose real problems. A mere two lost laptops from the Hong Kong Registration and Electoral Office put at risk the information of 3.7 million people.
In both cases, digital and physical, even (or especially) in times of tighter wallets, organizations must avail themselves of security tools that will best help them their data stewardship. Don’t give your customers yet another issue to worry about amidst a government shutdown.