Data Breaches and Why They Are A Big Problem

Data Security | February 28, 2018

2017 was one of the most devastating years in terms of data breaches as it saw a record 45% increase in annual breaches over the previous record in 2016. A recent report by the Identity Theft Resource Center and CyberScout highlighted how there were as many as 1,579 breaches within the United States alone in 2017 that exposed nearly 180 million records. While these numbers are undoubtedly staggering in their magnitude, it is easy to overlook one critical component of these breaches — the individuals to whom this stolen data belonged to and who are at the greatest risk of identity theft. So, why is this important?

 

Annual data breaches expose more than just names and contact information

Across the world, from the United States to India, data breaches have resulted in the leaking of highly sensitive and personal information like ID numbers, Social Security numbers, credit/debit card information, and many more types. While credit and debit card numbers can be canceled immediately and transactions rebuked, identity theft is something that many individuals often struggle to recover from.

These unique identifiers provide citizens access to vital services in many countries across the world, which means that the compromising of this information could result in the complete upheaval of their public profile — completely hindering their ability to access critical services. What is even more concerning is the trajectory of these data breaches, given that, in recent years, hackers and identity thieves have increasingly shifted their focus onto identity theft.

This should come as no surprise since society as a whole has adjusted to prioritize and protect financial information more so than other types of personal information. Think about it — and be honest — don’t most people you know go into a state of panic mode when they lose their debit or credit than if they, for example, lose an ID card?

Given this focus on protecting financial information, stealing information like credit and debit card details is no longer as lucrative as it once used to be. Identity, on the other hand, is another ball game.

 

Why is identity theft one of the biggest vulnerabilities?

With a credit card or debit card, the only thing that can be done is the purchasing of goods and services. Even this can only be done over a short period of time, given that once the victim realises she/he has been robbed, a few seconds on the phone with their bank will achieve this.

With identity theft, thieves open themselves to a large number of opportunities, which includes access to a person’s financial information. However, this does not end here. With rising levels of criminal activity — notably terrorism, drug smuggling, and laundering — fake and stolen identities are increasing in value. Why? Criminals can buy this false information from identity thieves and use them as aliases within their respective criminal operations.

These activities could go on for weeks and months, unnoticed, which means that the damage would already be done — almost irreversible at that.

It is, therefore, the responsibility of the organisations and businesses to make sure that all data collection methods are secure and protect the identities of their clients. This is especially true for organisations who acquire a significant amount of their clients’ personal information for verification purposes — for example, entities operating in the financial services segment. Fortunately for such businesses, parallel to the rise in data breaches and cyber threats, there has also been a significant increase in the number of technologies developed to counteract these threats. One example of such an initiative is the IAME decentralised fragmented identification system.

 

The IAME Way

Our IAME solution is a game-changing concept that strives to transform the identification process, which is where individuals stand are at risk the most. Our approach comprises of a system that fragments the individual pieces of identification data and shares each fragment with a group of third-party validators — who then verify each component assigned to them. The result of this is that only the data sharer, in most instances, the client, would be the only person with knowledge and access to all the data in a meaningful way.

 

If you would like to know more, please visit our Website and read our White Paper. Any feedback, comments, or questions can be asked directly to our team by visiting our Telegram Channel. For updates on IAME, you can follow us on Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned to our blog series, for more of the latest news in the crypto and blockchain realms.