“Well, it’s a huge problem. It’s a global problem and it’s a growing problem.

You’re talking about attacks from organised crime, from state sponsored, from non-state sponsored. This is a very pervasive problem for businesses in terms of threats to information, threats to the security of financial information.”

Words – about cyber security – spoken by none other than the Chief Executive of Australia’s Business Council when being interviewed last Thursday on ABC Radio National’s AM (national) program.

Just reflect on where we all have provided personal details and information and where it is stored in one form or another:

  • banking and credit card details – be it at a bank, store or hotel or airline just to name a few examples
  • tax records  – at the Tax Office or the accountant
  • details of life and health insurances
  • the wealth or financial advisor
  • wills and powers of attorney at the lawyer’s office
  • medical records – with a health insurer, hospital, medico or pharmacist
  • all manner of personal details at a government or local authority, utility’s provider or online service or product seller
  • what we ourselves put on social media a la Facebook.

Problem is that we have absolutely no control of how the information that is provided by us is safeguarded  and secured – yes, safeguard and secured! – by the entity to whom we have provided it all, being trusting in doing so.

Of course, algorithms are another dimension to all of this, as Laurie Penny, writes in a piece, Facebook Absolutism, in Overland:

“Today the algorithm learnt more about me. It learnt that I’m worried about my weight. I’m considering purchasing an extra set of winter socks. I’m considering also purchasing another black band T-shirt. I’m concerned about how the British Home Office treats asylum seekers. I’m concerned about the long-term health effects of nicotine gum. I’m a single white woman in my late twenties on a modest salary. It knows that I liked a video of a baby bulldog tearing up toilet paper, that I liked a picture of my baby sister trying to eat spaghetti twenty years ago, that I liked a boy who was no good for me.”

Whilst providers of the Cloud-based facility – as also software manufacturers – assiduously push companies to go onto the Cloud, we, the consumer are ever increasingly exposed to not only to the likes of identity theft, but our most intimate and personal details becoming public to the world at large.

If sceptical about the threat we all face, then this report “Health Care Industry Most Vulnerable to Data Breaches“from eWeek should provide more than discomfort to the sceptic:

“With more and more patient information being stored electronically, health care organizations have become targets just as the need for more stringent and sophisticated data security becomes apparent.

Incidents relating to phishing, hacking and malware were the cause of 31 percent of data security incidents during 2015, revealing a shift from 2014 when human error was the leading cause, according to a new report.”

And:

“The health care industry (23 percent) was affected more than any other. Rounding out the top three are financial services (18 percent) and education (16 percent).”

Whilst it is all very  well that directors of corporations are, slowly, becoming aware of the risks associated with cyber security – and insurers are providing insurance cover to a company where there has been a breach of cyber security – but what the public needs to ask is how all of that helps them once the details about themselves (to the extent, for example, of identity theft) are at large out there.    It is an area no one seems to want to really address…..with what very much looks like a head in the sand approach!    It is hard to see corporations, who have invested so much in utilising the cloud for the storage of all manner of information, readily reversing the course they have now so happily embraced.

The individual does have an option readily available to him or her!   LifeBank and HeathBank – a secure encrypted data key totally off the internet which is in the hands of the user  who has full and unfettered control of it.  The user has all his or her critically important information on that data key away from prying eyes and not susceptible to being hacked.    It is isn’t a call to arms, but the lone individual out there has the opportunity to become master / mistress of his or her own information.