In this digital age, people need to protect their data whenever and wherever they can.
All kinds of data are stored today to keep track of just about every part of life. From financial transactions to simple messages and everything in between, there is a digital record of virtually everything that goes on from day to day. While most people understand on a basic level that some of that information could potentially be stolen from agencies, it always seems like more of an abstract threat than a pressing concern.
News like the massive data breach recently reported by IBM brings the importance of data security to the foreground once again. In the end, millions of people had their health records violated, and that information is now in the hands of hackers who may use it for a variety of purposes.
The victim in this attack was the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy, and the millions of people who have their data within that system. To steal the data at one of the larger agencies in the state, the hackers targeted a popular file transfer software known as MOVEit. When the data was moved through the course of regular options using this application, it was exposed to hackers and stolen.
There were various pieces of data contained within what was taken by the hackers. That information included basics like names and addresses, as well as more sensitive information like social security numbers and income information.
In addition to the data that was lost in one of Colorado’s larger agencies, a similar event played out in Missouri within its Department of Social Services. While the number of people who had their data stolen in that hack is not known, it has the potential to be similar in size to what happened in Colorado. Of course, the incidents that are reported on and made public certainly make up just a small portion of the actual volume of cybercrime occurring, so it’s safe to assume that these kinds of attacks are taking place regularly and impacting businesses and organizations across the country.
As an individual, there isn’t much that can be done about how data is handled or how safe it stays over time. People who are worried about the security of their data can at the very least pay close attention to things like their credit report that would point to activity that they did not authorize. It’s often a game of playing catch-up with the criminals that are stealing and using this data for financial gain, but paying closer attention is a starting point.
To be sure, there is no turning back from our modern, digital world. We are going full speed ahead into an increasingly digital future, and there are many benefits to living that type of life. However, data breaches are one of the potential drawbacks, so people should always take precautions regarding who they provide their data to, and for what reason. The threat can never be eliminated, of course, but it can be reduced by taking the right actions and responding quickly when something does happen.