If you’re like 98% of computer users, you do shopping and/or banking online, via your personal computer or mobile device.
Banks and online retailers like to tell you how “safe” their sites are when you trust them with your money or your personal data.
But if they’re really that “safe,” why are there news stories almost every week about the latest massive data theft?
2013 was a record year for data breaches, with 822 million records exposed in 2,164 separate incidents. This was nearly double the previous record set in 2011.
And almost half of these thefts involved the loss of password data.
The biggest breach was at Adobe, with 152 million records taken – including names, credit card numbers and expiration dates, and encrypted passwords.
Another huge breach was at Target, with 110 million records exposed.
The odds of having your personal information stolen via a data breach increased from one in nine in 2010 to one in four in 2013.
At worst, having your personal information stolen can let cyber-thieves clean out your bank account. Data breaches also facilitate identity fraud – to the tune of over $20 billion per year. In fact, one out of four people who learn that their personal data has been compromised end up as victims of identity theft.
Even if cyber crooks don’t steal your money right out of your bank, they can open fake credit card accounts in your name, grab your income tax refund before it gets to you, and at least temporarily ruin your credit rating. It can take stressful months or even years for you to clean up the mess.
Just in 2013:
- $160 million was stolen from banks, a stock exchange, and a credit card processing company, retailers, and an airline in a credit card hacking scheme.
- $15 million was taken from personal bank accounts by hacking ATMs.
- $45 million was stolen from 3000 ATMs in New York City – in 10 hours.
- A cybercrime ring based in Russia stole $4 billion in one year.
These are just a few examples. And the problem is getting worse every year.
In fact, according to Forbes Magazine, if present trends continue data loss will cost the US economy $290 billion by 2018. That’s more than the country spent on Medicaid in 2010.
Companies know your data isn’t safe. One out of three of them take out insurance policies specifically to protect against data theft losses – and consumers pick up the tab for the premiums.
Even though data breaches cost companies hundreds of millions of dollars, they’re not moving quickly enough to protect consumers. They don’t use state-of-the-art technology, or they’re just plain careless.
Banks, retailers, and credit card companies don’t want you to know just how insecure your money is. If more people realized the risks they were taking, the whole cyber economy might come crashing down.
But financial institutions and retailers aren’t the only ones to blame for data theft. The weakest link is often you.
Even if you follow the best personal security protocols – such as using long, random passwords and changing them often – you’re still at risk. But your risk is even higher if you don’t take basic precautions.
Presumably, every online transaction you perform requires a password. The password is the key that unlocks access to private information like your credit card numbers, home address, and social security number.
But too many people are far more careless with the “keys” to their bank accounts than they are with the keys to their homes. Few people are reckless enough to leave their house keys hanging on a hook outside their front doors. But a weak or over-used password is just as tempting a target for a cyber-thief.
A security consultant who compiled a list of the 10,000 most common passwords discovered that the number-one choice was – you guessed it – “password.” The second most popular – no surprise – was “123456.” If you’re using one of those passwords, you’re not only leaving the key on the hook, you’re leaving the door wide open and turning on a big neon sign that says “rob me.”
If you haven’t had your personal information stolen yet, you’ve been lucky. But your luck will eventually run out. You may already have been robbed – you just won’t know it until you’re turned down for a credit card or a mortgage – or until your ATM card doesn’t work one day.
There’s no doubt that a stronger password makes you safer. But any eight character password can be cracked in just six hours, using a computer that makes 350 billion guesses per second.
To be safer (but, unfortunately, not “safe”), you should be using passwords with at least nine characters. 13 or 20 characters are even better. And these passwords should not be names, words, or common phrases.
But most people simply can’t be bothered with creating a long, unique password for each of their dozens of online accounts – let alone changing all those passwords every month. So their data remains vulnerable.
PACid® offers a better solution – one that doesn’t require you to change your behavior or jump through a lot of hoops to protect your data.
Bolt-on Strong Security™ (BoSS) is unbreakable with current techniques. You only have to remember one user name and one password to access a secure mobile device. A biometric sensor, such as the fingerprint reader on the newer iPhones, can provide an additional layer of security. Behind the scenes your long, random user credentials change after every use and the encryption solution for your connection changes every few seconds. If someone tries to crack it, by the time they figure out what it was it will have already changed (several times). We specified “user credentials” and not just “password” because by using a complex, random username (ID) we add another level of security.
BoSS offers dynamic security. It keeps changing the combination to the locks.
PACid is not a single point solution to one piece of the security matrix. PACid provides a suite of products that are designed to be seamlessly interoperable:
- Machine to machine security at speeds only machines can achieve
- Dynamic authentication (ID and password)
- Point to point or point to multipoint
- Asset security
- Your home
- Your office
- Your vehicle
- Your computers
- Information security
- Communication security
- Encryption that changes every few seconds
- Voice or Skype
- Eliminates “man in the middle” attacks
- Encryption that changes every few seconds
- Irrefutable transactions
- Fraud proof transactions
- Multi-tenant cloud storage
- Electronic Health Records (EHR)
Virtually anything that currently uses an ID, password, or pin can be upgraded to support a PACid dynamic approach.
PACid is an industry leader in data security. If you’ve ever used secured Wi-Fi, you’ve had your data protected by technology licensed from PACid.
We’re working to make BoSS an industry standard for personal information security. If you’d like to be updated on our efforts, learn more about data security risks, and learn what you can do to better protect yourself, subscribe to our blog.
Learn more about PACid’s patented Bolt-On Strong Security.