When I first read about the Sony PlayStation incident in which data theft occurred, I thought to myself it didn’t concern me. So what if some hacker obtained the names, addresses, email addresses credit card information of some 77 million users of Sony PlayStation online, since I don’t own such a beast. But as the week progressed and we learned more about the intrusion it became more apparent that this incident could have a far reaching affect for all of us.
Many of us, me included, use our credit cards for online purchases for everything from buying electronic equipment to buying applications for other devices we own. Though Sony has turned over the information about the break in to the F.B.I. and has warned Sony PlayStation users of the break in, what hasn’t been addressed as of yet is why the data was insecure to begin with?
This afternoon I sat down and added up the number of companies that have stored my informatoin on their servers. Information that could compromise my credit card account or my checking account. PayPal has both. I determined that there are 17 companies that have this information including my name, home address, email address, credit card account information and unfortunately my DOB and social security number, in some cases.
What has always amazed me is that social security numbers were never designed to be a secure means of identification. There was a time when it was stated on the social security card that it was not to be used to ID a person. But this has slipped through the cracks over the years and social security numbers are used to identify us. Armed with our DOB and social security number, thieves can steal our identity easily.
We should be concerned because it seems that whenever an incident happens in which consumer identification could be compromised along with credit information, little is ever done to hold the company responsible accountable. Telling the consumer to monitor your credit charges in case of illegal activity is like telling a murder victim to apprehend the suspect who killed them.
I believe that all companies who store our identification on their servers owe us the proper protections to keep prying eyes away from the information. Until this happens we are all at risk of identity theft.