In the face of the recent cyberattack on the U.S. government, it’s natural to examine our own vulnerabilities to cybercrime. China has proven that our personal information isn’t secure even at a national level, a level once thought to be impenetrable. Many Americans are now thinking more critically about where they place their information and whom they entrust to handle it.
The truth is so much of our private information is alarmingly accessible: bank records, investment accounts, credit card statements and even insurance policies. And so many third parties touch each of these personal information areas on a daily basis. Knowing this, you’ve likely installed anti-malware software and set up unique passwords, and you exercise caution surrounding when and where you access financial portals. But if you don’t carefully choose where your information lives and who has access to it, taking the aforementioned precautions is a lot like locking the front door but leaving a window wide open.
Let me explain the depth of vulnerability. In the Wall Street Journal article “Security Expert Marc Goodman on Cyber Crime,” Goodman notes a radical shift in cybercrime over the past decade. Bright, unchallenged teenagers were often the culprits of years past, but now hackers are predominantly affiliated with organized crime — hence the evolution of criminal software and techniques. This next generation of cybercrime puts more onus on information handlers because they have to be that much more stringent about the security precautions they take, especially given that in 60 percent of cyberattacks, trespassers were able to compromise an organization in minutes, and two-thirds of breaches remained undiscovered for months or even longer.
But security breaches aren’t just tech slipups or unlocked portals. In fact, most of these organizations have adopted and follow strict security measures. But the reason that doesn’t guarantee immunity is there’s another layer of vulnerability in play: the human factor. Even if employees – or the company — aren’t selling your information to a third party (which is often a risk), how carefully are they following protocols and company procedures? Are they well trained to respond in the event of a breach? Trust is the most important part of the equation and it’s hard to come by, especially when the trust is from a distance.
To close the vulnerability gap, you’ll want to think about information access in three ways: who currently has it, who should have it and who do you want to have it? Mitigate your risk of an information leak by cultivating a group of information guards you trust.
Visit Legacy Shield to discover options for keeping all your information in one safe, trusted place.