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Why Your Personal Information Is Not Safe


Of all the technology mis-information that is dispersed to the common public, the one that gets my blood burning faster than just about anything else is when some company representative insists that “your data is safe with us.”

Look folks, here’s the deal. Your data is just not all that safe. Not your personal information that could be used to steal your identity, nor your banking information, nor any other information you provide to anyone else online. If you doubt this at all, just look at the news over the last six to twelve months at all of the high-profile data thefts that have occurred. From banks to online gaming systems, your data is vulnerable and the bad guys want it.

And today we have a story in the news that shows you just WHY all of the fancy data protection measures that corporate executives and marketing VPs just LOVE to tout don’t add up to a hill of beans. You see, that protection often times is geared at preventing individuals outside the security system from accessing your data. That is a very good thing. But what about all of the people INSIDE the company security system (i.e. the employees and/or contractors)? How well have they been screened? What if one of them decides to embark on a life of crime? What then?

Well, that’s EXACTLY what happened at the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

It seems that two enterprising employees of the New Jersey DMV decided to start selling people’s personal information to identity thieves. That is, names, birth dates, and social security numbers were sold for in some cases the rather paltry sum of $200. All the protections that the New Jersey DMV had in place were for naught because the people who stole the information were required to have access to that data as part of the normal course of their jobs (see the article referenced here).

Data security involves more than just encrypting people’s data and using passwords to control access. Something that company executives are getting an education in right now according to news reports.

As a side note, yes I do use online banking and what not…it is very difficult to avoid these days. However, there are smart ways to use such services, and also not-so-smart ways. Perhaps in the coming days I’ll provide some additional information on this point.

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