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Look at the above words….and reflect on them.    Who do you trust?   Your bank?  Probably not!    Your insurer?  – health or otherwise.    Unlikely?    Then add the various entities with whom you have contact – for example, your employer or the people from whom you make purchases on line.   The people who store the data containing all your personal details?  – financial, health and personal.

If you think about it, you are entrusting to third parties – for example, your bank, your medico, the medical facility you attended, your insurer, your employer and many, many others – a goldmine of personal and critical information about yourself.     Do you really believe that these third parties safeguard that information?

Bottom line, there is absolutely no reason to trust any of the above notwithstanding all the entreaties to us to do so.       Just remind yourself of this:

  • from KevinMD:

Some say privacy is an illusion. I hope that isn’t true, but I do know that our medical records are not safe. Why should you care? Because our medical records contain our social security numbers, health insurance information, our home addresses, phone numbers, emergency contacts and their phone numbers, our email addresses, possibly our driver’s license numbers, and likely credit card payment information. Ever paid your co-pay with a credit card?

Your medical record is worth ten times more to a cyber criminal than your credit          card number. And with health care’s mandatory transition to electronic medical records, cyber thieves have taken full advantage.

If you think major institutions are immune to cyber attacks, think again. You might recall the cyber attacks on our U.S. government. One in particular compromised personal information on 22.1 million people and 5.6 million fingerprints were stolen.”

 

  • from KrebsonSecurity:

“In January 2015, the FBI released stats showing that between Oct. 1, 2013 and Dec. 1, 2014,  some 1,198 companies lost a total of $179 million in so-called business e-mail compromise (BEC) scams, also known as “CEO fraud.” The latest figures show a marked 270 percent increase in identified victims and exposed losses. Taking into account international victims, the losses from BEC scams total more than $1.2 billion, the FBI said.

“The scam has been reported in all 50 states and in 79 countries,” the FBI’s alert notes. “Fraudulent transfers have been reported going to 72 countries; however, the majority of the transfers are going to Asian banks located within China and Hong Kong.”

  • from The Age newspaper:

“Hackers hoping to steal people’s financial details are moving away from targeting banks and are instead focusing on the big online stores.

According to the Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report, more than $1.4 billion was lost to cybercrime in 2014, with more than four million Australians impacted.

Mark Gorrie, director of Norton by Symantec in the Pacific region, said there has been a noticeable shift in cybercrime trends, with ransomware also becoming more common.

Ransomware – also known as online extortion – is the means by which someone’s files or photos are hacked into and held until money is paid for their release.

Ransoms can run to hundreds of dollars, and, Mr Gorrie says, people have “no guarantee their files will be freed”.”

 

  • from The New York Times:

“Americans highly value the privacy of their personal information and communications, but they have little faith that the government and private companies will actually protect their data, according to a report to be published Wednesday by the Pew Research Center.

The survey research, conducted online in 2014 and early 2015, found that more than nine in 10 adults said that controlling who gets access to their private information and what information those people can see is important to them. But half of the people surveyed felt they had little or no control over their data.

Nearly two-thirds of the people surveyed said that the current limits on telephone and Internet data collected by the government were inadequate, even when the government says such information is needed to combat terrorism. Earlier this month, a federal appeals court ruled that the government’s current bulk collection of telephone data is illegal. The House has voted to change the program to keep such data with the phone companies until the government requests it, and the Senate is expected to consider the legislation soon.

It’s not just the government that Americans don’t trust. Corporations fared no better in the survey, with 76 percent of adults saying they had little confidence in online advertisers to keep their information private.”

 

Discomforted by the above, you rightly ask yourself what can you do to protect yourself from the fallout from cybercrime or being held to cyber  / computer ransom.

At no more than a very modest cost, you can take control of your private data – and minimise reliance on all those third parties who tell us to trust them but have shown to be vulnerable to cyber crime – by getting yourself LifeBank or HealthBank.    A straight-forward data key which securely records, fully encrypted, all your personal data.    It’s that simple!