We’ve all read about cybercrime consisting of expert hacking attacks on consumer information databases. The targets have included major banks and retailers such as Target. The information stolen includes names, addresses, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, passwords and much more.
One of the most damaging hacks was a Chinese attack on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in which hackers stole personal files on millions of federal employees and government contractors that could allow Chinese intelligence to identify U.S. intelligence operatives, many of whom operate as contractors with nonofficial cover. Now comes an even more dangerous threat.
As described in this article, data theft is now being conducted not just by outside hackers but by insiders including employees of the victim company. In this example, the incident “involved theft of more than 100 million customer records, 140,000 Social Security numbers and 80,000 linked bank details of Capital One customers.”
The individual accused of stealing the records was an employee who exploited a flaw in the firewall to steal the information. The usual process is that the party stealing the information tries to sell it to criminal gangs through the dark web and those gangs sell it to other criminals, who can make false purchases or hold the information for ransom from the customer victims.
No amount of firewalls or scrutiny can prevent this kind of theft. Customers have some statutory protection that comes from the data custodians. Still, it’s just a matter of time before some custodian goes bankrupt, leaving defrauded customers high and dry.
The only partial recourse for customers is to hold some assets in nondigital forms such as gold, silver, land or natural resources. Those hard assets are unhackable.
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