Data breaches have become so commonplace that we almost expect them.
Credit cards are compromised when retail stores are hacked. Social Security numbers are at risk when government agencies or physician’s offices fall prey to phishing expeditions.
And those are just the perils the average American faces with domestic hackers. It’s just as easy for people from far-flung countries – some of whom may be working on the behest of their governments – to infiltrate our computer systems and disrupt our way of life.
The Internet is taking down the borders around countries all over the world. This year, the federal Office of Personnel Management was hacked, putting the data of more than 22 million Americans at risk. That hack reportedly originated in China. In another case, four people were arrested this summer in Israel and Florida in connection with fraud schemes related to a 2014 hack of JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal just recently reported that 29 countries have formal military or intelligence units dedicated to offensive hacking efforts.
It’s scary what the possibilities are, because this isn’t quite the same as securing our borders against a military attack. Not every country has a powerful military, but it’s so much easier to wage a cyber war.
Here are several reasons why this can be a concern for everyone.
All individuals are at risk:
Maybe no one in North Korea or Pakistan is targeting you personally, but that doesn’t keep you from being affected. The downside of technology is that it pools everything together, and if someone breaks into it, there’s just a whole lot there to take.
Your information is there. My information is there. Everyone else’s information is there. That’s the problem from an individual American’s standpoint.
Advances happen too quickly:
The development of technology has moved so fast that government and laws have struggled to keep up. We are still in a very early stage of an explosive new era of technology, almost like medicine was 150 years ago. So, we’re going to have governments behind. Everyone is behind.
While on my recent speaking and book tour in Australia, I was saying there that it’s all the more reason why we have to help each other, co-educate and collaborate.
Cyber attacks don’t need to be sophisticated:
A hacker can use the email address of an employee of a federal agency to send emails with a malicious link to other employees. Those employees, thinking the email comes from someone they know and trust, open the email and the link, allowing the breach to occur.
This all boils down to knowledge and training. You are only as strong as your weakest employee.