Why Cyberthreats are Eroding our Lives


We are under attack. While we stare at ISIS and other threats coursing through the Middle East and beyond, the environment around us is alive with vipers.

The latest attack was The Home Depot, which had a months-long data breach through malware similar to the one used against Target. In the Target case, thieves stole sensitive data from as many as 110 million people. The United States has 333 million people. Obviously, that means one out of every three people had financial information compromised (the chain has stores in Canada, so the proportion is actually approximate).

The already struggling Target might not recover from this episode. So, with one hack, a third of this nation’s financial health and a significant company were endangered. If the company fails, about 361,000 people would lose their jobs.

That’s a massive cost for that one breach. The Home Depot case is supposed to be even bigger because that cyber door has been ajar for months longer. That is another struggling chain; this one employing 340,000 people.

We are at the point where we can assume our financial data has been stolen. You can’t be secure about your health information either. In August, the Community Health Systems, a Tennessee-based hospital chain, reported an extensive breach affecting data for 4.5 million patients going back at least five years.

Of course, if you used cloud storage for your nude pictures or anything else, we all know how secure that is.

Then one day, you might spring a trap and hackers can lock down your computer and hold it for ransom for up to $500 and may or may not free it if you pay up. And there is no one, no expert, nobody, who can help you.

So, we no longer have a shred of privacy or security. Isn’t this kind of nuts? We have pushed our most sensitive data and cherished memories onto this vaporous foundation and everybody who should have some kind of authority over these transgressions seems to shrug it off.

The Target and Home Depot hacks appear to have a connection to Russia. The hospital chain breach apparently originated in China. If we’re looking over the horizons for an invasion, we should instead be looking on our desks, our laps and in our pockets.

What does it take for all of us to demand security for the network that now holds every piece of our lives? I withdraw that question. I really do not want to see what it would take for us all to consider cybersecurity a national security issue.






Steven A. Morelli is editor-in-chief for InsuranceNewsNet. He has more than 25 years of experience as a reporter and editor for newspapers, magazines and insurance periodicals. Connect with Steve →

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