Data Security

Effect of Security Breaches on Individuals

Identity Theft


It is tempting to think of hacking and data breaches only impacting large businesses. After all they're the ones that can spend time and money capturing, storing and processing large amounts of data.

This would be a serious mistake. Generally, hackers are after personal data kept by companies about past, current and potential future customers as a means of getting to something else. This means that everybody could be affected and individuals are often the first to find out something has gone wrong.

Once hackers can get hold of personal data, they can in effect, steal their identity and use it to commit a range of crimes, the results of which could lead to 'incorrect medical diagnosis, to (virtually) killing you, to losing your job and your chances of getting credit".

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1. Financial Problems

Financial problems caused by ID Theft can be many and various.

  • Straight forward theft. The ID thief simply accesses the account of the owner and takes the money.
  • Opens up a credit card in the victim's name and buys items for probable resale.
  • Use the authority of the victim's ID to realise investments and transfer the money to other accounts. Maybe for money save up for retirement of children's education.

2. Credit Issues

This extends upon the credit card issue.

  1. The ID thief spends up-to the credit limit on credit card accounts opened without the victim's knowledge.
  2. Bills go unpaid, because the victim doesn't know about them.
  3. The credit rating of the victim is lowered as they become known as being a bad risk: they don't pay their bills remember.

Subsequently, the victim only discovers the problem when they apply for credit or loans to possibly buy a house or a car.

3. Legal Problems

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4. Benefit Losses

See how this work by entering live code into the server medical shit. bad credit rating identity theft.

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5. Damage Careers & Job Loss

Increasingly employers look at credit histories, employment & criminal histories etc. A bad report acquired by someone using your stolen identity, could lead to being rejected for interview.

6. Virtually Dead

It is not unknown, for people to steal identities, then rack up a series of debts and later registering themselves as being 'dead' as a way of escaping their creditors.

The genuine person only finds out that they're dead when they come to apply for credit, access government services or perhaps even when they try to take money out of their own account.

Persuading others that you're alive and well and that you are in fact, the person you say you are, can be surprisingly difficult, taking years to sort out.

This happened to July Rivers. She wanted open a bank account. The bank refused because according to their database, she was dead. July then faced a digital murder history as she tried to find out who had killed her. Eventually, the cause was traced to an ID thief attempting to escape creditors.

While being declared officially dead, might seem an extreme event, Social Services in America reckon to wrongly declare dead about 14,000 people a year due to fraud etc.

7. Cause Medical Issues

Medical ID theft is becoming a growing problem, especially in countries that have to pay for medical services. The simplest fraud is for the ID thief to claim money from insurance companies for treatment they haven't received. The victim is left with a rocketing health insurance bill without knowing why.

More worryingly is false creation of a medical record by an imposter that subsequently leads to misdiagnosis and errors in treatment of the victim.

Surveys have revealed almost 2 million people a year are affected. 15% have experienced misdiagnosis, 13% mistreatment and 14% suffering delays in treatment. Worst of all 11% were prescribed the wrong drugs.
Tasks
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Content for Accordion Panel 2
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Can you now do?


  • Explain how security breaches can affect individuals
  • Provide at least two examples of how security breaches impact on individuals.

If you don't feel confident in meeting any of these performance criteria, ask your teacher or re-read the information again.

Cyber Security

  • Security Fundamentals
  • Data Security
  • Digital Forensics
  • Ethical Hacking
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