On Sunday August 24th 60 Minutes aired a show that everyone should watch. I didn’t see it when it aired, but a colleague forwarded the replay to me and I was blown away. I have followed security trends for several years, but this was new to me.
We live in a digital world. One in which everything we do, on and offline – can be tracked. That data when combined with other data makes up a profile or dossier for hundreds of millions of people in the United States alone. These dossiers are not identified with some random unidentifiable number; they are coded with your name, your email addresses, known aliases, health, buying preferences, and everything else about you.
You are probably wondering how this happens. How can you be tracked without you even knowing it? Here’s how:
- Your cell phone tracks everywhere you go, that information combined with other information can identify habits, preferences, and a whole load of information that reveals information about you.
- Apps on your phone that you think are providing entertainment or other communication with your friends, can actually track your location and what you do in other applications on your phone. They can learn your friends, contacts, who you call, and what you are saying to others. Many game apps are just fronts for the collection of data on you.
- By just getting on the Internet, you are being followed everywhere. First of all your Internet service provider has tons of data on you, and knows what you do, what you say online, and what you buy. As soon as you log onto Google and do a search, or you go to your favorite social media account, or a host of other sites on the Internet. You are not just being monitored at that site, but every other one as well. For example, you go to Facebook and look around for a while, then you close it and go to a debt consolidation company website to learn about their services, then you go and read some articles about a health malady let’s say Diabetes, then you go to a job site and look at available jobs, etc… Facebook is tracking you during the whole session and beyond. Imagine all the personal information these sites could gather about you.
- Then let’s say you go to the store and buy things, maybe you pick up a prescription at the pharmacy. Your credit card company knows everything you buy, not to mention all the retailers. Those discount cards, they are not just for discounts; they are for tracking your purchases and tying those purchases back to you, no matter what form of payment you might use. Then you swing by the elementary school and pick up your kid, you are too tired to cook so you go out to eat at some fast food restaurant.
If you take all those things and combine them, we learn that:
- You are struggling with debt.
- Based on your Internet search and the type of prescription you picked up, you have been just diagnosed with Diabetes.
- You are most likely looking for a new job or are out of a job.
- You have a child and you make poor eating decisions.
Obviously this is just supposition of a small amount of data, but each of us leaves thousands of data points a day all over the place.
If you are concerned about the security and privacy of your business, which you should be, contact JMARK. The damage in privacy that I discussed in this article is nothing compared to the damage and liability from a privacy or security breach of your business or of one of your clients or patients.