People want your information, so bad they’re willing to pay for it. Sometimes we willingly give it away in the form of those little agreements we’ve been trained to accept without reading. Then it’s sold, legally, to other companies. Other times it’s stolen from us and sold, illegally, to people who want to be you, or at least pretend to be.
Data breaches are becoming a common occurrence in this digital, uber-connected world we live in. In 2018, reports that Cambridge Analytica, a data firm, acquired the private Facebook data profiles of over 87 million American voters with the intent to sell. Just this April, cybersecurity firm UpGuard shared they found more than 540 million exposed Facebook users’ data publicly posted on Amazon Cloud servers. Occurrences like these all too frequently, and as other social media platforms gain popularity, they’ll likely be subject to more and more attacks.
According to a report published by IBM and Ponemon, the cost of a data breach in 2018 was up over 6 percent from 2017, to the tune of $3.86 million. The average cost for each stolen record is $148. While 2018 didn’t see a breach as potentially damaging as the Equifax one from 2017, but billions of people were affected by data breaches in 2018. We expect that number to rise. As more social media platforms rise in popularity and more business form an online presence, we’re forced to entrust our information to more and more people. And these people may or may not treat that information with the respect it deserves.
In those agreements we accept is language allowing these organizations/platforms to track basically everything we do online and sell that information to third parties. The problem is they have to keep that information somewhere and all of that information is vulnerable to cyberattacks. Passwords and data can be bought on the dark web to hackers to use as tools in their belt to gain financial and informational wealth.
There’s danger to our students and children who grow up in a society where losing your personal, private information is the new norm. Bank accounts, personal pictures, social media profiles, spending habits and even location tracking are all at stake, and it may be difficult for the younger generation to truly grasp the impact of all of this.
So what’s the solution? Practicing good cybersecurity habits. Don’t repeat passwords, especially for platforms containing sensitive information. If you think your information may have been compromised, change your affected passwords immediately. And maybe judge if using the newest social media platform is worth giving access to all of your internet history.
Stay safe out there.
What should you do if you think one of your accounts has been compromised?
What kinds of things can criminals do with your information?
What are some ways you can protect your information?