Technology is without doubt the cornerstone of society. Mobiles, tablets, and computers are things most of the people cannot live without. We now use them to buy stuff, sell services, pay loans, catch up with friends, play games, earn money, protect assets, etc. No wonder every person has a say when it comes to a data breach. However, the more people become reliant to technology, the more they are at risk of cyberthreats and attacks. Studies on digital health now even cover issues on data security.
But do people really care? Almost every person is in some way affected indirectly (such as reading “fake news”) or directly by cybercrime. But as to how an individual reacts to a leakage depends on how it could impact her lifestyle. Other people may not even care at all. However, according to Vice, post-breach it is common for many to suffer from headaches, sleepless nights, anxieties, and emotional distress knowing that they are not secured, physically or financially, due to a leak in their confidential information.
A data breach happens when the computer storage system, which is supposed to be secure, ends up leaking or ‘spilling’ confidential data to untrusted individuals, whether deliberately or not. Majority of data breaches include the release of vital financial information, such as credit card details or bank accounts.
Sometimes, it happens because of hackers who steal data for profit, such as by exchanging trade secrets between rival companies or revealing personal information to fraudsters engaging in identity thefts. Cyberterrorists can also spy on government servers and use sensitive data for warfare. Sometimes, it’s for less nefarious reasons such as marketing which is nonetheless a major privacy and security issue.
In addition, accidental data spills can happen due to human error or inadequate IT infrastructure. Some firms try to cut down costs in the IT department, which leads to confidential information getting out simply because there were insufficient encryptions or bugs in the system. Some employees even unwittingly insert USB devices in company computers which expose the system to malware, viruses, and other cyberthreats.
End-users can also contribute to a data breach as well, especially when they are not computer-literate enough. Social engineers exploit this weakness by using phishing schemes or attaching viruses in digital advertisements. Unfortunately, many people still fall ploy to these tricks.
As technology continues to develop, data becomes even more convenient for malicious hackers to access. This is especially the case with cloud computing technology. And this is not localized to a single state alone. Globalization allowed cyber criminals to access massive volumes of information from all around the world in just a snap of a finger.
While most of data breaches are due to external hackers, some spills are inside jobs or as a result of an accident. In any case, when records are compromised whether intentionally or unintentionally, a data breach can take place.
Not everyone cares about a leak but, surely, everyone can be affected.
For instance, when hackers took over Target’s servers on November 27, 2013, the retail company had to fire its CEO and had its staff spend the rest of the holidays patching up the leakage and restoring its reputation.
Consumers, baffled by the loss of control over their personal information and credit card data, lost confidence in the retailer leading to a decrease in sales. Many anxious investors backed out, trying to save whatever they could save from the loss. The attackers gained fame as well as money from raking in credit card details and selling them on the black market.
From that alone, it’s apparent that merchants and consumers both share the negative impacts of a cyberattack, although the impact may vary in degree. A firm owner will be devastated after losing billions of dollars from a single attack. Meanwhile, an ordinary user who is fortunate enough to leave a hundred bucks in his digital wallet may live the rest of his life without a clue that Yahoo, for example, got hacked.
It is not only a matter of privacy or losing wealth. A person’s mental health can be affected as well, and digital well-being is included in that package. Computers and gadgets are supposed to foster life and relationships, not to destroy it. Unfortunately, the irresponsible handling of data paved way for malicious hacking that causes a detrimental effect on people on a large scale.
Techies strive hard for security by programming software that could protect personal information and get rid of cyberthreats. But this is a long and continuous process. As technology advances, malicious activities also keep up with it which makes data management a difficult feat. But this is neither unpreventable nor unmanageable. There are several ways to counter data breach and improve digital wellness.
What To Do for Digital Well-Being at a Minimum
Companies can do preventive strategies to protect data. Rules and regulations on cybersecurity should be strictly implemented within the organization. Employee training and re-training also help improve workers’ knowledge of data usage. Database management software should be utilized to minimize the risk of data redundancy and clerical error. There are some great examples here.
Moreover, files and folders, particularly those bearing sensitive data, should not only be password-protected but also encrypted. Personal laptops or computers should not be used to access confidential company information. Physical and electronic files should be handled securely to avoid misplacement or theft. Large corporations may recruit cybersecurity professionals to look after their data. Finally, companies should prepare and update their respective data breach response plan, which includes contingency measures in case of cyberattacks.
All these measures help safeguard information for the benefit of the employer, the shareholders, the employees, the clients, and other third parties. Overall, these strategies contribute to digital well-being, which bridges the gap between mental and digital health. It keeps everyone’s mind at ease, steering clear from the anxieties of losing one’s hard-earned money just because of imprudent use of data.
When a person stores data for safekeeping, it should be secured; otherwise, it could disrupt people’s lives. Not everyone may care but still, it affects everybody – from the company itself, down to its staff, its clients, and other relevant parties. Hence, every person should wisely handle confidential information to acquire or maintain a positive digital well-being as a minimum aspect of digital health. There are various methods to do this. Bottomline is prevention, which involves multiple parties — which means, everyone is involved.