Sony finally owned up to what was already clear several days ago: Playstation Network incurred a massive breach of user data. Over seventy-seven million user accounts are impacted in what is quite possibly the largest data breach ever. The FBI is on notice and one United States Congressman is accusing Sony of “taking too long to report the breach.” Whoever hacked the Sony Playstation Network likely has access to your username and password, your date of birth, your name, your address and your credit card information. They even have the answers to your security questions.
This data breach should put us all on notice – it’s becoming harder to know who to trust with your data. The problem is bigger than Sony. It proves just how vulnerable you really are. Canceling your credit card right away and adding a “high risk” alert to your credit file might help mitigate the short term damage. You can cancel your mother’s maiden name, or your first pet’s name, or the model of your first car.
Even if your username and password are unique at every site, you likely use the same security questions and answers. After all, how many different security questions do you see? We are asked our mother’s maiden name, our first girlfriend’s first name, our first job, and even what type of car we drive. Thinking back on the last five websites I signed up with, the security questions were almost identical at each one. Now those criminals know the answers to those supposed security boosts – along with all of your other personally identifying information. They can freely access nearly anything you’ve registered for online and they also have the power to assume your identity with brand new accounts.
Let’s dig a little deeper into what this means from a security standpoint. Imagine if you will a C-level executive with GE or Ford who happens to be enjoy gaming on the Playstation Network. Can you even imagine the potential for havoc once data theives access thier various online accounts? We’re talking possible repercussions of a massive scale, y’all. Down on main street, where business owners are struggling to survive and thrive, those who had their information stolen could end up seeing a bankruptcy judge in the near future. An unlucky teen’s parents may end up with a mountain of credit card debt they cannot escape from.
If our trust is violated by a huge corporation like Sony – or any of the other 2,447 companies who had a data compromise since 2005 – who can we trust?