Welcome to a new series from the leadership team at MyProfyle and me, the founder, Garnet Steen. As the most innovative company in identity protection, we exist on the bleeding edge of fraud prevention and identity protection. In our regular blog we share breaking news and threats that affect each of us including the latest data breaches and privacy threats. As the founder of MyProfyle I want to dive deeper into the larger trends that are shaping privacy today and I hope you will find these topics thought provoking.
I have more than 15 years of experience in this industry and along with the rest of the MyProfyle team, we’ve noticed many changes over the years shaping our lives today. I want to bring these home to you and make it interesting. I will move beyond the dry facts of a specific news story and give you the context that is often missing from a simple recitation of the latest threat or technical exploit. I hope you enjoy the ride and if you feel like sharing your feedback on this, or anything else we do, please you’re your email to Member[dot]Support[at]our domain.
Selling Solutions or Snake Oil?
When I began my first company helping people with Identity Theft, there were many misunderstandings about the threats we face. Companies selling credit monitoring and fraud alert tools talked about credit card fraud and identity theft as if they were the same thing. Never before had reversing unauthorized purchases been so easy – you were already protected under federal law and no consumer suffered any losses – while the credit companies had become so good at detecting unusual activity (and had the incentives to do so) that it was normally they who told you about the fraud, not the other way around.
What was clear to me then as it was to everyone in the new identity protection industry who was honest about it was that the tools available didn’t solve the real problem. But because the credit buraus and others didn’t have good solutions – and they still don’t today – they took what they had – tools designed to prevent creditors from being defrauded – and turned them into product designed to address the inflated consumer threats. The real threat was what some call “true person fraud” which is label used to describe the creation of new accounts or other activity using your Identity.
Identity Theft is so 2001… What About Privacy?
This was then, as it remains today, the real danger of identity theft. It’s not having a smartphone purchased by a criminal using your credit card, but having your smartphone hacked and its information used to open up a new account with a bank that doesn’t know you and that you don’t know of. It’s having your information used to commit crimes against you and others that you may not find out about for months and spend years cleaning up.
In a world where your identity can be misused in a million ways, there is no way to “lock” your life and your identity. Your information is already out there, exposed every day by one of the hundreds of companies you have entrusted it to or by someone they work with. You can’t un-ring that bell so what can you do? You can focus on control instead of privacy.
Focus on knowing when your information is being used and being in control of your identity. MyProfyle was designed to do just that, at in the long run, that’s why it’s the only solution that has a chance of working – because it addresses the real problem with a new idea. Don’t try to maintain or regain a privacy you have already lost but put you in the control. Approve or reject the use of your identity in real time
Internet of Things (IoT): The Spy You Live With
Do your kitchen appliances need a connection to the Internet or is it only the appliance manufacturers who think they do? Maybe they believe you think your coffee maker needs to get online but I don’t think so. To be fair, there is a benefit to having a refrigerator contact the maintenance department if it senses a problem or having your coffee maker order you more pods. Otherwise you’ll either forget and miss your morning caffeine fix or order them more cheaply from Amazon, right?
But there are tremendous privacy concerns arising out of this new Internet of Things (IoT) world. Is your refrigerator going to tell your health insurance company what you eat? Is your television going to watch you (and what you watch) and tailor the advertising to you? What is the digital assistant controlling your lights, thermostat and home speakers doing with what it learns from constantly listening to you? And just what is your smartwatch learning about you?
Look, it’s great that a refrigerated truck can report on the temperature of produce or that your car can tell you when it needs a tune up, but there’s a place where convenience comes at the cost of privacy. Unfortunately, if you like technology and don’t change the default settings on your IoT devices, you’ve probably already crossed over the Rubicon but its not too late to reel it back in.
Cloud Storage Hacking: Welcome to Digital Blackmail
When you combine cloud computing, data breaches and the IoT you get a potent mix of technologies and trends that leads to a danger that scarcely existed a decade ago. The 2020s are going to be the decade of the demand for money in exchange for not releasing (true or false) information (blackmail) and to a lesser extent, violence or the use of power against you (extortion).
The sheer amount of data out there about each of us makes us easy marks for that information to be released without our permission as digital blackmail. Examples of extortion can be seen most readily in the business world where hackers encrypt the files of companies and then demand a fee to unlock those files. How much would you pay to recover your precious photos, your tax returns or the grad school thesis you’ve been working on for two years?
Don’t Forget “Sextortion”
As if the corruption or destruction of your data weren’t enough, digital extortion will take place involving private photos and videos of you that were automatically stored in the cloud when you thought you were sharing a private moment. Those files, like everything else, are “out there” and it’s not just an angry ex-lover who will have them, but a hacker halfway around the world who has access to your smartphone’s address book with all your family, friends, co-workers and neighbors.
A Better Way Forward
Many of these threats are beyond what any one company can do. MyProfyle cannot improve cloud security or make sure your privacy is always respected by others. We offer tools and advice to help you protect yourself and put you in control of your dat. There’s a better way forward and MyProfyle is part of the solution. We are an open system – allowing any consumer and any organization to join and use our basic identity verification tools for free. We allow you to be the gatekeeper of important activity involving your identity – new account applications and other use of your identity, especially between organizations who don’t know you and have no way of contacting the real you, when they are dealing with someone pretending to be you.
That’s what MyProfyle is designed to be. It’s not a solution for every problem, but it’s a start. And it’s Free For Life Identity Protection™. I hope you join if you haven’t already, stay with us as we grow and learn more about how to protect yourself as MyProfyle protects you.
Thank You for Joining Us!