Can You Really Protect Your Online Data?

In Tuesday evening’s Democratic Primary Debate, the candidates were asked about the biggest threat facing America  today.

Naturally, Middle East volatility and the rise of ISIS were cited, in addition to nuclear weapons falling into the wrong hands.

But it was somewhat surprising that only one candidate – former Virginia Senator Jim Webb – mentioned cyber crime.

Cyber crime continues to be a constant menace to businesses and consumers alike – and it’s far easier to perpetrate than making physical war or acquiring nuclear weapons.

We’ve covered this topic many times.

In August, for example, I covered the particularly embarrassing hack of internet “dating” site Ashley Madison, which exposed the details of millions of cheaters, as well as how Fitbit put details of some users’ sex lives on the internet.

As quickly as we put new safeguards in place, unscrupulous hackers find a way to break through. So how safe is your digital data?

Samsung and Google Suffer the Wrath of Hackers

We’ve recently seen two other serious data breaches.

The first instance involves Samsung Electronics Ltd. (SSNLF), which revealed that hackers had infiltrated LoopPay, the backbone of the Samsung Pay mobile payment system.

Samsung was quick to claim that specific customer data had not been stolen. But that wasn’t really the point. If hackers can learn enough to identify vulnerabilities, they can get customers’ data at the point of sale or some other way, instead of taking it directly from the network.

More shocking was the fact that it took Samsung five months to even discover that its system had been invaded. So it’s premature for the company to be so confident about what was and wasn’t stolen.

The second case involves Google Inc.’s (GOOGL) Android operating system. Earlier this year, the company created a patch to fix a software bug called Stagefright. The company thought that had solved the problem… but the issue recently resurfaced and is now spreading though music and video files rather than text messages.

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Author: Travis Esquivel

Travis Esquivel is an engineer, passionate soccer player and full-time dad. He enjoys writing about innovation and technology from time to time.

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