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Thycotic’s Cyber Security Publication

What’s Your ‘App’-titude this Cyber Security Awareness Month?

Written by Joseph Carson

October 25th, 2016

Our lives are more connected online than ever before, with more than 3.5 billion Internet users worldwide—just under half the population on earth. That includes 6 billion email accounts, 2 billion smartphones, 1 billion Apple users, 1 billion Gmail accounts, 1.7 billion Facebook accounts, and 300 million Twitter accounts who tweet 7,350 times per second, send 2.5 million emails per second, and transfer 1.5 billion GB of data per day through the internet. All of which are strong opportunities of attack for hackers to exploit.

To date we have downloaded 140 billion apps from the Apple store to our devices so that we can record and share every aspect of our lives online with our family, friends as well as many people we do not know or have not even met (potentially cyber criminals).

We use those apps to control everything around us, from choosing your favorite song, opening doors, changing the TV station or the temperature of the room, and even starting the car. With almost 9 billion devices of Internet of Things (IoT) around us that are collecting billions of data points monitoring our every move, our health, the weather, traffic, environment, and so much more.

With so many smart devices and and so much connectivity the question is, are we never disconnected from the Internet? And how dependent are we on its pure existence? With the introduction of health trackers and smart wearable’s people are now connected 24 /7. So we are online even when we are sleeping. The data collected is continuously uploaded and shared to the cloud (just another computer somewhere in a data center).

It is important to know what data is more critical than others; data known as personally identifiable information (PII) are those pieces of data that uniquely identify you when you are online. Personal information like this:

• Full name (if not common)
• Home address
• Email address
• National identification number
• Passport number
• IP address or Mac Address
• Vehicle registration plate number
• Biometric Information
• Driver’s license number
• Face, fingerprints, or handwriting
• Credit card numbers
• Digital identity
• Date of birth
• Birthplace
• Genetic information
• Telephone number
• Login name, screen name, nickname

When connected online you should always be cautious about sharing the information above and where possible limit the exposure. Cyber criminals are looking for this information and the more available the more cyber crime they can do from identity theft, impersonation, and financial fraud. The commonality between all of the recent major data breaches in the news including Yahoo, LinkedIn, and Dropbox is that the information stolen is personal information.

What is your ‘App’-titude for sharing personal data online? Are you always connected online and what PII have you made available already to potential cyber criminals? Check today and find out what personally identifiable information (PII) is public, try to remove it where possible and avoid becoming the next victim of cyber crime. Stay safe online, Stop. Think before you Click.

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Joseph Carson

Joseph Carson has over 25 years' experience in enterprise security, is the author of "Privileged Account Management for Dummies" and "Cybersecurity for Dummies", and is a cyber security professional and ethical hacker. Joseph is a cyber security advisor to several governments, critical infrastructure, financial and transportation industries, speaking at conferences globally. Joseph serves as the Chief Security Scientist at Thycotic.