The internet is a phenomenal and essential resource in our daily lives. Over the past decade, the internet has become increasingly more intrinsic in our routines. This great resource has developed from a luxury (albeit a slow one that tied up our phone lines) to a necessary utility that we essentially live off of. Not only has its speed and reliability at home and in the office increased, but it has also expanded to dominate the mobile realm with our devices essentially fulfilling the roles of a dedicated home computer. Our daily lives are compiled of countless smart devices like smartphones, virtual assistants, watches, and smart TVs. With the imminent rollout of 5G connectivity, the amount of connected and internet dependent devices will only continue to grow.
Speaking of the ever-expanding list of smart devices, Amazon just announced an Alexa enabled microwave. It is safe to say at this point the internet and connectivity reign supreme over our homes and lives. While all of this connectivity is phenomenal in terms of increasing productivity and simplifying aspects of our lives, there are some massive drawbacks that one should keep in mind. Our constant use of smart devices also means the constant input of countless amounts of personal data. This data is often stored by companies for various reasons such as improving their targeted marketing campaigns, retaining client information for future internal use, as well as a variety of other business related reasons.
The amount and type of data that we willingly input is extremely valuable to businesses as well as nefarious actors looking to benefit off of it. Things like social security numbers, credit card information and other very private personal information are things we often disclose on the web while assuming it'll be handled in a safe manner. While certain compliances like GDPR and HIPAA have been established to protect us there are still many other entryways for cybercriminals to gain access to our information.
Enter the dark web, a part of the internet that isn't indexed by search engines and often the host of illicit activity and transactions. Darren Guccione of CSO wrote an interesting article explaining the dark web and how it functions. He had the following to say.
“You can buy credit card numbers, all manner of drugs, guns, counterfeit money, stolen subscription credentials, hacked Netflix accounts and software that helps you break into other people’s computers. Buy login credentials to a $50,000 Bank of America account for $500. Get $3,000 in counterfeit $20 bills for $600. Buy seven prepaid debit cards, each with a $2,500 balance, for $500 (express shipping included). A “lifetime” Netflix premium account goes for $6. You can hire hackers to attack computers for you. You can buy usernames and passwords.”
With all the data that we willingly store on the internet, how are we to be sure that our own personal data is not being sold or used. Regardless of how much caution we take in where we divulge our information, there are still ways for our information to be gathered. The past four years alone have seen major companies like Equifax, Anthem, and JP Morgan Chase compromised. These are all extremely large business with highly sensitive personal information that one would assume would be stored under the highest security standards.
Fortunately, there's been a rise in identity theft protection companies that monitor and individuals web presence and search for signs of malicious activity. PCPC has partnered with ID Agent in order to protect its customers. This partnership has expanded PCPC’s security benefits from real-time network threat monitoring to include additional services like a dark web search for client information. In doing so PCPC can now discover if its client's employee emails and passwords have been compromised or are for sale and take action before any further harm occurs. This partnership also allows for social media monitoring which will send an alert if someone is actively targeting you or related individuals social media profiles. This entire process will be done through a trusted, affordable and government tested personal identity service.
For any company looking to have a free assessment review of their business and personal please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.