Old Fashioned Hacking Does the Trick

2 Nov

Someone stole your personal information.

The above statement recognizes many peoples’ fears in an age when personal information can be found easily on the Internet. Companies have invested tens of billions of dollars in protecting our personal information from hackers on the computer. The question is: does investing money in online security really make our information secure? The short answer is “no.”

Back to Old Tricks

At a time when society lacks personal connection because of our use of technology, hackers have been successful in reverting to older tactics to get information they want. According to the Wall Street Journal article, “Hackers Press the ‘Schmooze’ Button”:

  • It took Shane MacDougall merely hours to uncover sensitive information from Oracle.
  • Chris Patten was able to easily convince a telephone operator to give him details by making up a story.
  • Target Corp. was extremely more successful at preventing information from being leaked than Oracle, a company that spent twice as much on security.

Companies are so focused on technology that they seem to neglect the fact that workers can see the same information computers hold. In both cases mentioned above, hackers were able to gather information through interactions with workers rather than relying solely on computers. It just seems too easy.

How Do We Stop it?

No matter what precautions companies take, there will always be those capable of extracting details that should be protected. It is clear that it’s not only technology that we need to worry about. Maybe the lack of personal contact has led people to be more trusting when we should be suspicious. Some companies started to make it more complicated for people to gather information by asking more specific security questions, but at some point, that becomes a burden on the customer that they are trying to protect. Companies need to start educating their staff to recognize signs that someone is trying to hack into their system. It is time to start focusing on personal interactions in an age when Facebook and texting are our main forms of communication. Will this completely solve the problem? No, but it will make it increasingly harder for hackers to gain access to our personal information. We must learn how to communicate with others through personal contact in order to better satisfy and protect the needs of customers. Yes, it is the twenty-first century and technology is everywhere around us, but ultimately if we forget how to interact with others, it will be easier for hackers to manipulate businesses to gain information from them.

by Stacy Berg

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