You may not know the name, John Kelly. But he has been all over the news lately in a most unflattering way. John Kelly is President Trump’s Chief of Staff. And he has become the target of the news media because he was recently the target of an embarrassing security breach.
Modern smartphones offer the average person more security and less security than ever before. Both are true. Countless lives have been saved because someone had a tracking device on them that made it possible for emergency crews to locate them. Countless people have been stalked and harmed because they were carrying a tracking device that made it easy for bad people to find them.
It is impossible to participate in the modern world carrying modern devices without being a victim of a breach. Here are a few things you should know about living in this brave new world of smartphone security breaches:
It Happens to Everyone
John Kelly is not alone. He is not the first politician to be breached. And he will be far from the last. Some might mistakenly assume that high-profile breaches will create enough awareness so that future breaches will be next to impossible. But that simply is not true. There are still bank robberies, home burglaries, daytime muggings, and identity thefts. Security breaches via smartphones will always be with us. And no one, not even the highest government officials are immune.
Digital and E-Discovery specialist Califorensics is one of the companies that specializes in determining what happened in a security breach. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered, such as:
- What caused the breach
- Who is responsible
- When exactly did it happen
- What data was compromised
Every small business is going to eventually need to use a service like this. That is because if there is one thing we have learned over the last decade, it is that no one is safe. Just ask Sony, Target, and the IRS. The sooner you lose your false sense of security, the sooner you can take meaningful precautions.
An Ounce of Prevention
Whether you know it or not, you are harboring big data in your small business. It is vital you understand the value of big data and how best to protect it. You may only see it as a phone number and an email address. But you would be shocked by what an unscrupulous person can do with just those two pieces of information. Add a username and password, and you have enough information to destroy a life.
The date you hold can be combined with other data held by someone else. So if a person is trying to hack an AppleID, they don’t need to hack Apple. They likely can’t. But they can get a target’s password from you, with a good chance that password is used in other places. Security questions may be even more valuable than passwords. Because with the right security questions, a bad guy can highjack an account and reset the password.
As an individual, your best preventative measure is to use two-factor authentication everywhere it is available. You will find it to be inconvenient. And sometimes, you will question why you are doing it. But when two-factor is enabled, it is very difficult for a person to highjack your accounts without having physical possession of your devices, and the passcodes to those devices.
After the Fact
It is not just that you will be breached. You already have been breached. Equifax has pretty much seen to that. The number of victims associated with that breach account for every credit-worthy member of the population. Even if you were not caught up directly in the Equifax debacle, you have done business with someone who has.
There are services that allow you to freeze your credit for free. Take advantage of those for a season. Open an account with a free credit reporting service so that you can monitor your credit. Be proactive rather than reactive. The bad guys have your information. And they are coming for your good credit.
Change your passwords for all your critical accounts. And make sure all of them are unique and not shared with other accounts. Breaches happen to everyone. So be proactive in protecting your accounts with two-factor authentication and good password hygiene.