I received a free razor in the mail the other day. It was a special promotion ostensibly to celebrate my 18th birthday. I double-checked the name and address on the label. It was indeed addressed to me. I did not need to check the calendar. They missed my 18th by about 40 years.
We all know there is plenty of information out there about each one of us. If you Google yourself, you'll probably find that a scary amount of it is publicly available. I just wonder how much of it is accurate and how best to protect the important stuff.
Coincidently, I had the opportunity recently to hear a presentation sponsored by the Pennsylvania AARP. The topic was how to properly secure personal and business data, while avoiding fraud and scams. The main speaker was Frank Abagnale Jr. You may recall the 2002 Steven Spielberg film, "Catch Me if You Can," that profiled his early life. While still a teenager in the 1960s, Abagnale posed as an airline pilot, doctor, and attorney, and defrauded banks and businesses of millions of dollars. He became an expert forger and could convince just about anyone he met to trust him—he was your ultimate confidence man.
After being caught and spending several years in prison, he began working for the FBI, showing law enforcement how clever criminals defraud unsuspecting victims. Forty years later, he is one of the world's foremost experts on security. He still works with the FBI, as well as for corporations and consumer groups to help businesses and individuals protect what is theirs.
Fraud accounted for more than $900 billion in losses last year, according to Abagnale. An identity is stolen every two seconds. "Technology breeds crime. Always has, always will," he said. "Every data breach occurs because someone did something they were not supposed to do or failed to do something they were supposed to do."
One of the largest bank breaches in history was just such a case. Against policy, a bank employee took home a laptop and worked using an unsecure connection. This opened the door for hackers to gain access to the bank's network and steal otherwise secure data.
So that begs the question: With an industry like ours based on advanced technology, what are we doing to protect our data as well as the data of our customers and partners? Have we taken needed precautions? More importantly, are our employees following the security procedures that have been put into place?
With the rise of e-commerce and social media and the ever-expanding use of mobile technologies in the supply chain, it is more important than ever to make certain best practices are followed to assure we are safe rather than sorry.