Most Massachusetts residents victims of data breach?
The Boston Herald recently reported that a whopping FIVE MILLION residents have been the "victim" of a data breach. Of course, it is very likely that in many cases the same person's information was lost several times.
The 2010 United States Census results puts the Massachusetts population at 6,547,629. Five million is 76% of our total. Just ponder those numbers for a minute... while I ask you these questions:
have you ever been a victim of a violent crime?
ever seen a violent crime in progress?
ever been a victim of a property crime?
ever seen a property crime in progress?
Chances are you haven't been a victim of violent crime, nor seen one in progress. They are rather rare events (as a percentage of our population). If you have been a victim, I sincerely hope that you were able to recover and put it behind you; I fully understand how it can impact an individual, both physically and mentally.
Property crimes are different in that they are usually crimes of opportunity. The bad guy sees something he wants, and he takes it - usually when no one is watching (thus the opportunity). There is better chance that you have either been a victim of a property crime or seen one in progress. The numbers just work that way.
We have learned how to protect ourselves, how to avoid risky situations, how to secure our belongings, in the physical world. But what about the digital world?
Do you have the slightest clue how to protect yourself in the digital world? Oh, did you just renew your Anti-Virus software - ya, that should do it...
No, you don't know how to protect yourself in the digital world. I don't, you don't, no one does. The way it is set up, it is, in many ways, beyond our control. Sure, there are "stay safe on the Internet" speeches - but those are for kids. Still important, mind you, but it's for kids. We teach those same kids "not to talk to strangers" and "don't get in a stranger's car". This is good advice, but it's the same advice for a different neighborhood.
Right now the digital world is reminiscent of the Wild West. Who tamed the bad guys back then and where are they now?
Crime in America is on the decline, and has been so for 10 years. Maybe the laws and their enforcement are working? Or maybe it's some statistical anomaly. Whatever it is, crime numbers are down.
That's in the physical world, however. In the digital world, crime is up, way up, and no one's immune. It's like 100,000 of us just parked our new BMW's in a parking lot, left the keys in the car with our GPS device, laptop, camera, and our golf clubs lying in the back seat. Oh, and there were no lights in that parking lot. Would we ever do that? Not in the physical world, but definitely in the digital one.
It's really not our fault. And not a fair comparison. In the physical world we lock our cars and hopefully put our possessions out of sight because we "know" that we risk losing them if we don't take certain precautions.
In the digital world, we just "go on the Internet" and go about our business having no idea what, if anything, is happening in the background. Have you noticed lately how long certain websites take to load? Ever watch the lower left hand corner and see what is "loading"... I assure you it's not the text you were seeking to read... what about those links that we click... did you hear about the one where "Casey Anthony" supposedly confessed to her attorney, and it was videoed? Oh yeah, just click on the link marked "jaa" to see the confession...
Jaa is Finnish for share. And share you would if you clicked that link. Here's the story from ZDNet (and not the bad link).
Let's find a comparison in the physical world:
"yessir, I am the valet, I know, its not usual to have a valet at McDonald's, but we're testing out a new service... great, I'll park it right over there, pal..."
Yes, you'd be an idiot to give your car to a "valet" at McDonalds, but clicking a link to see the purported confession of Casey Anthony... am I an idiot for just clicking it?
I keep asking myself the following question:
Whose responsibility is safety in the digital world?