There’s no telling how many massive data leaks we’ll see in 2016, especially considering the staggering amount of exposure last year. One hack that is frightening, and that has recently come to light, involves voter registration data that has been hacked on a massive scale. This hack affects some 191 million voters in the US. The worst part is, we do not, at this point, have definitive word from the authority that the leak has been plugged, or what the status of the database currently is.
How big a problem is this? If you’ve voted in any election since the year 2000, your voter registration data are likely compromised. The good news is that these data do not contain credit card or banking information, but that’s where the good news stops. Unlike data breaches at department stores, which could be avoided by making cash purchases and being highly selective about which stores you shop, this attack cuts across every demographic, and strikes at our very foundations. If you’ve actively participated in selecting those who govern the nation, your personal information is at risk. Using the information in this database, it would be quite easy for any hacker worth his salt to steal your identity, getting new credit cards in your name and maxing them out, enjoying an extravagant spending spree, leaving you to foot the bill, and worse, creating a problem that could take you literally years to unravel.
Once more, this underscores just how precarious our digital world is, and how disruptions in the digital world can lead to very real, very dire consequences for all of us. Because the organizations that maintained these data don’t have any uniform standards, and because there are minimal protections in place to safeguard some very large, very important data sets, it’s often child’s play for hackers to make off with millions of records.
We witnessed and heard this story far too many times in 2015 for this latest revelation to be outright shocking, but it serves as yet another reminder and dire warning that if we don’t start taking data security more seriously, there will be consequences. How secure is the data in your company? What, if anything are you doing to improve it? The clock is ticking, and it’s just a matter of time before something like this could affect your business.