Wade Wyant

Your Identity

With data breaches from Equifax, Facebook, Flagstar Bank, Marriott International, and numerous other large companies, much of people’s private information is now in the hands of cybercriminals and being sold on Tor, the network criminals often use because it allows anonymity.

They purchase large batches of information, and use it in their cyber warfare. Cybercriminals can then take your stolen identity and apply for jobs, credit cards, tax refunds, medical benefits, gas, water, utilities, and any other benefits in your name. Plus, if they commit a crime, isn’t it easier to just provide your name and social security number?

For instance, “If the identity thief gets arrested for . . . [a] crime and gives your Social Security number to law enforcement, you’ve become tangled in their criminal history.”8 You might never know that your personal information has been used by a criminal until you apply for a job and are denied because you can’t pass a background check.

Your Pictures

Have you ever taken pictures on your phone that you didn’t want to share with the public? Maybe the pictures have graphic content. Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities had personal images taken from their mobile phones, and these intimate photos caused them a great deal of embarrassment and discomfort.

People may wonder how this happens, so it is best to explain the mechanics of cloud storage. “It is important for celebrities and the general public to remember that images and data no longer just reside on the device that captured it,” said Ken Westin, security analyst at Tripwire.

“Although many cloud providers may encrypt the data communications between the device and the cloud, it does not mean that the image and data is encrypted when the data is at rest,” Westin said. “If you can view the image in the cloud service, so can a hacker.”

Actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead was also affected by the leaking of celebrity photos. She posted on Twitter: “To those of you looking at photos I took with my husband years ago in the privacy of our home, hope you feel great about yourselves. Knowing those photos were deleted long ago, I can only imagine the creepy effort that went into this.”

Remember, cloud storage systems have passwords, and it is important that you protect your photos with a strong password, not the name of your pet that you constantly show off on Facebook. Also, don’t use security questions that could be easily guessed by anyone. In addition, I suggest a enterprise-level cloud storage system that is secure.