It’s the hot topic in the news, blogs, books, and more, identity theft and security! We are all susceptible to identity theft from the individual user to the largest corporation.
Author Steve Weisman has been speaking on Identity Security for years, including his blog Scamicide and in his books The Truth About Avoiding Scams and Identity Theft Alert: 10 Rules You Must Follow. The most recent breach, the Community Heath System, is one that Weisman covers in his blog entry Community Health Systems and the Chinese hacker. By now we all know the characters in the story, hacker wants sensitive data, companies have budgets and time restraints, and users want usability. In his blog post, “Community Health Systems Data Breach Update”, Weisman wisely states, “It has been said that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance and that is also important in maintaining your own personal security. People who did not change their passwords following the Heartbleed security flaw first being uncovered should take this as a wake up call to do so now.” I concur!
(read on to learn how you can make a difference)
Weisman goes on to give some great examples on how to protect credit and to watch for fraud. But we all know that that is not where the story ends. Weisman states the grim truth that “it is not unusual for hackings and data breaches to remain undiscovered for significant periods of time. This data breach may be the first major data breach connected to Community Health Systems, but it is most likely not going to be the last.” Sadly, he is most likely correct.
Organizations and companies need to transition to stronger authentication; one way they can do this is with a usable authentication solution. Why usable? Well, let’s not forget one of the main characters in this story, the user. Users want usability when it comes to identity security and logging into their accounts, and there are many solutions that are rising to the occasion to provide both security and usability to organizations. PortalGuard is one solution that brings usable Two-factor Authentication to the table with printable OTPs, SMS, and PassiveKey.
So there is no doubt that security needs to be increased and usability cannot be forgotten, but what can you do as an individual to increase authentication security within the organizations that you use on a daily bases? Well, I am glad you asked. I just happen to have the perfect site that was promoted on newyorktimes.com in Ron Lieber’s article A Two-step Plan to Stop Hackers. Twofactorauth.org allows you to send a tweet requesting that organizations and apps that are housing your personal information support two-factor. (you may now cheer and applaud) Find out if your favorite app is using Two-factor or take it into your own hands to tell them to support Two-factor.
Weisman ends his blog post reminding us that “you are only as safe as the places that hold your personal information and some of them have poor security.” How true that is, and how slow many are at implementing the necessary steps to secure our personal and private data. In conclusion, you have really two choices as a user.
Cut out all technology from your life and keep your savings under your mattress
Make smart identity choices and request that those that are housing your personal information implement a usable, two-factor solution.