As the market is growing digitally, every company is stockpiling as much information related to customer as they can get and keeping their records in order to make their services and products better for their customers. But this has also given rise to the threat of identity theft especially to the business which accumulates customers’ personally identifiable information (PII) – it includes credit card numbers, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, etc. Since these data helps the business in crafting the sales strategies, especially of credit or loans, and in generating data related to employment. This collected information usually company stores in hard disks or maintain database over networks such as internet. All these information containers are vulnerable and malevolent hackers sometimes succeeds in stealing those private data and that leads to identity theft – a criminal activity that involves stealing of personal information to get the access of their financial accounts and using credit cards or take out loans etc.
Not only private companies suffer from such threats but several govt. offices also come under the same radar. Recently Numerous Chinese internet users turned to virtual private network or “VPN” services to shirk “Great Firewall of China” – designed by Chinese government to hinder citizens from accessing certain abhorrent websites that they reckoned objectionable. RSA Research has claimed Chinese hackers are using VPN services as a platform to launch cyber-attacks while covering the original identity of the attackers. RSA dubbed it as “Terracotta VPN.” It is revealed that Terracotta VPN is mainly targeting compromised Microsoft Windows servers. The VPN service consists of over 1,500 virtual private network nodes – and the numbers are constantly adding – procured through vulnerable servers around the world.
However, US states have adopted several new laws to prevent these attacks, and private companies are investing additional efforts in order to make the data security system more strong, particularly smaller companies who previously don’t have rigorous data security.
Before creating the security, it is necessary to know how thieves enter into business and steal the data. It is not a new idea for thieves to earn through identity theft scam, earlier they used to filch paper files and find the information after hours of working on them, but now internet has made all the work easy for them. Here are some ways by which data breach occurs:
Some even the best of the employees make mistake; after we’re all bound to make mistakes. But mistakenly leaking data could have a huge negative impact for both the employee and the company. This usually happens when employees violate data security policies for some reason and fall victim to the fraudulent people. It can also be caused at the loss of a laptop that contains unprotected PII.
Another ways of data breach includes sending the data over email or saving it in flash drives and taking out of the premises. Most of the time hackers devise a false scheme such as phishing, spear phishing, and social engineering. Innocent employees fall prey to them and reveal company’s PII key.
To Evade the Threat of Identity Theft Business have Adopted Several Methods That includes:
Encryption Technology: Most of the businesses have adopted encryption to prevent personal identity theft (PII). In this method technologies such as Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and its successor Transport Layer Security (TLS) are used to encrypt data. Not only the online transmitting data are saved by encryption but data saved on various hard drives such as disk, tape, CD-ROM, or any other storage device can be protected with this technology. The thing to be notice here is encryption technology don’t fight or resist against the hackers, instead it will make the stolen data in the wrong hands of hackers useless. Following are the steps that several corporations have taken to secure the data with encryption.
- First identify the significant data that require encryption. It can be PII or some other data that are helpful and confidential in the growth of business.
- Once data has been identified, next step is to determine the expiration time of the data.
- Find the best encryption technologies according to the requirement of the data.
- Several companies have created new set of policies and procedures where the correct uses of encryption technologies are defined.
- Installing and training users.
- Reviewing Commercial Agreements: Companies are getting more involved in knowing the bank’s policies; they are indulging deeply before making any agreement. This gives a significant support if there’s any fraudulent activity.
- Monitoring Thoroughly Business Accounts: Reviewing the business accounts frequently, and alarming on any suspicious transaction. Besides concentrating more on online banking only, and avoiding any paper details.
- More Cautious of Phishing Scams: Companies are providing additional training to their employees in order to recognize the phishing scams.
In addition to these methods, several other strategies, simple yet effective, are also company has adopted to secure PII data includes:
- Anti-virus and anti-spyware protection
- Firewall protection
- Updated browsers and other software with security patches
Acquiring all these technologies and providing training to their employees have raised the cost of the companies. And it is not one time investment, in fact it is process. With the passing time as technology is getting update, the companies, concerned about security of customer’s PII, also need to update the technologies and knowledge of their employees by giving them training. Thus it is a constant process of investment. However, companies include the same cost into their products and services, the similar way as they include the marketing cost, and sell the products at higher prices. However, paying a little extra for the security is appropriate or not that depends on individual to individual.