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6 Sources of Theft in the Digital Age

In the digital age, it won’t be your possessions that thieves seek out. It will be data about you that is most valuable. We already see this happening with database hacks like Sony or Salesforce. Security standards have made the priority list for many enterprise services, but is customer data really secure?

A digital customer will leave data about where he shops and what his preferences are. If he visits a location or listens to music along the way, these actions are all tracked. Big data, and its storage, are becoming a very big industry. Before your company boasts its water-tight security systems, be sure you understand the risks you face.

Bitcoin

Rapid fluctuations aren’t the only problem bitcoin faces as a legitimate currency. As services begin to utilize the currency, the people holding it become the target of hackers and hardware becomes more important. One man mistakenly threw a hard drive in the garbage containing $9 million worth of bitcoin. He had begun mining the currency when it was cheap, hoping it would explode.

The upward movement of the currency means a greater emphasis on secure transfers, something that usually requires regulation. Bitcoin offers tutorials on how to accept the currency as payment, even linking to point of sale devices that customers can use to make purchases. They recommend forcing an SSL connection and retrieval of a customer’s full Bitcoin address. When using bitcoin, secure your personal device and limit its exposure to the public.

Databases

A company’s database is now worth its weight in gold, so to speak. The adage may not quite fit, but it is appropriate for discussing the value of an email address. Today’s email address usually comes with other personal information, like home address or phone number. In rare cases there are credit card numbers and social security numbers being exchanged. Hackers try to breach these databases and steal the info for sale.

Malicious Software

Malware, spyware and keyloggers do more than slow the performance of your computer. These programs also leech your information and sell it off to the highest bidder. In some cases, that is an advertising company seeking more information about your browsing habits. In others, it’s a hacker. In either case, the best protection in any case is security software designed to scan for, and remove, files with malicious content.

Your Phone

Your phone is increasingly becoming a point of entry. You might be the weakest point of entry without even realizing it. A bad application or a malicious link could infect your device. Bring that device to work and connect to your work network and you might pass the infection along to others. Remember that that weakest point of entry doesn’t apply exclusively to low level employees. Executives that are not security conscious can lose a lot of data if they are not careful.

Game Consoles

Your game console is linked to more services that require your information. Consoles also have marketplaces where users can purchase new software, and where hackers can mine for data. During the Sony database hack, Playstation users lost their personal data, including usernames and passwords. The recent Adobe hack had a similar consequence, compromising user accounts all over the Web. Proof that no matter what you do on-site, you may be victimized by a lack of security elsewhere.

Messages

In the days of AOL, messages often phished for user data. The practice is still alive, but it takes different forms today. Instead of passwords, hackers may masquerade as friends to spoof users into sending money or goods. Be wary of suspicious usernames, and always verify a friend’s username with him personally before you hand over any personal or identifying information.

Featured Image Credit: Hacker Using Laptop/ShutterStock

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