The CEO of Trip Advisor has just sent out an email to everyone who was ever registered on the website, and openly admits their database has been hacked. An unspecified amount of email addresses and other information has reportedly been stolen. Trip Advisor claims it does not keep any sensitive information such as credit card details of its users. They say we should not be concerned. How do you feel about that? I think there is a real concern for all of us, both as consumers in this ever increasing online world, and as those in business. The ramifications of failing to protect consumer and client information are enormous. If you are in business, you need to get some serious IT support to help you deal with these issues. One single case of information exposure could do more than ruin your business. It could ruin your financial future. Let”s take a look at some of the implications of this very disturbing case.
Why Would Anyone Want to Steal Data That is Not Important Then?
The definition of sensitive information gets used in different ways depending on what trouble any company is in. In this case, because it is not your credit card information stolen from Trip Advisor”s database, they are claiming this data is not important. What information was actually lost? The Advisor is yet to elaborate. One thing you probably did when you signed up for Trip Advisor was fill in your profile. The data there is not that invasive, but if you signed in with your Facebook address, you have online casino let Trip Advisor access all of your information on Facebook, including all your profiles and other personal information. Those in the business of credit card fraud know they cannot normally collect all your information at once. If your Facebook information was transferred you have probably exposed much of it. The next phase for them is to the use the information they have, contact you, and attempt to collect the remaining data necessary to defraud. Do you use the same username and passwords on different sites? Do you use the same password when you register with sites as you do with your email? You may receive unsolicited emails that are very convincing. Remember, these people know a lot about you now. They may even impersonate Trip Advisor or other companies. They might even build a very credible looking website for you to purchase goods and services. The strategies of online fraud specialists are very intelligent and sophisticated.
We can see from this case, how dangerous it can be to put our information out there while signing up for so many websites. As social media continues to change the way we exchange information online, using your Facebook profile to join every site, is actually opening you up for attack. You might have your privacy settings to protect yourself on Facebook, but when you sign in with it on another site, you have just released a lot of information to that other site. The next time you first login with Facebook, have a good read at the information you are allowing access to. In the case of Trip Advisor, we don”t know what has really happened. The fact they released this email, and openly apologize, means there is sensitive data out there, and they are in damage control. How will you, and all your Facebook friends, be affected?
Business Owners, you Have Been Warned:
What measures have you taken to prevent your company and client information being stolen? If a company the size of Trip Advisor can be hacked, how easy is it for you to be a target? Are you a vehicle for the fraud and misuse of your client information? The legal ramifications are very serious. Do you have professional business IT support to not only protect your customers, but ultimately protect yourself? Even the smallest of businesses are a target for those collecting information. More often than not, smaller companies are targeted because they have lower levels of protection.