This Christmas, Give the Gift of Data
December 17, 2014
In fact, you already do. You just don’t get credit for it. Every time you enter the ether, you leave a trace. But you already know that. It’s the reason you face the right ads the next time you cross the threshold. It’s why social media companies work so hard to keep you active on their sites, free of charge. You already know that in those settings where you don’t pay for a product or service, it’s because you are the product. But it’s about to get real (and probably has already).
The Real Threat to Your Security
Anonymity was an original attraction to the digital landscape. Just a bunch of ones and zeroes. Or so we thought. Turns out, your every movement is now tracked, via your computer and mobile devices. The data profiles that result, ostensibly scrubbed of specific identifiers, are sold by brokers and service providers to aggregators. This is where the wicket gets sticky. Aggregators merge and cross-reference anonymized data sets like tax records, health records, and cell phone records in ways that can, with few steps and little money, identify individuals with over 95% accuracy.
Passive Aggressive Cyber Threats
At first glance, this would seem to threaten individual consumers more than organizations, but these ripples affect the whole pond. Social engineering threats feed on aggregated data profiles to pinpoint individual vulnerabilities in your digital and human presence. And organizations are both consumers and providers of data, depending on the task at hand. After all, aggregated data simplifies business functions like marketing and underwriting. And that’s all good. Until it’s not.