The main feature of the Internet has been its ability to store, share and create new kinds of data. This has, however, meant new kinds of crimes and theft have arisen. It’s imperative, as modern users and creators of content and data ourselves, that we be aware of new kinds of threats that face new kinds of products.
For example, consider the celeb photo hacking scandal, that saw private digital photographs of people’s private lives stolen. This is not significantly different to someone breaking into the celebrities’ homes and stealing similar photographs; but with the internet, such a thief need never go anywhere near a celebrity or even leave his room.
Similarly, unlike physical photos, being digitised means there’s no actual way to stop the pictures from spreading. At least with physical copies, you can destroy them forever. Yet, storing data on various servers does reveal a problem we should recognise.
As Chris Harris notes:
“The nude photo leak was a painful example of how far people are willing to go to delve into and capitalise on the private lives of celebrities. For this reason, your average Joe probably shouldn’t fear falling victim to the same hacker. But it did highlight just how easily and readily our cloud storage accounts are broken into. And, as our personal data is becoming much more valuable and marketable, our cloud storage accounts are inevitably going to be targeted by hackers.”
You can have the latest in high tech control room installation, but for many other things we still need to be aware.
Consider, for example, doxxing. As Patrick Klepek highlights on Lifehacker:
“Dox is short for documents. The act of doxxing involves finding online documentation related to a person, typically their phone number and home address. This information can be used in a variety of ways and it’s often malicious. It could exist online as a scare tactic, a way of silencing someone through fear, or it could lead to other forms of harassment, such as swatting.”
Many might shrug at this. Who cares about your address and location? It’s public. Yet, as Klepek highlights, what matters is who has that information: For example, someone who wanted to harm you or steal from you, can use your details. Consider how we verify a person over the phone and how much of that info can be obtained with a simple click of the button. Or, worse, consider swatting – when police are sent to a home that a malicious person can claim is the scene of a hostage or suicide situation.
Klepek details various ways of eliminating and restricting information that should be the norm – not the exception.
These are dangerous situations to be in and we never know the kinds of things people might do with this information. It’s better that we know what the worst offenders can do and take action against them, then take the chance on becoming their victims.