Sony PSN news only grows worse for potential Identity theft victims

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Alarming headlines warning the public of big data breaches and the even bigger problems that those involved will likely face paint a clear picture: the threat of identity theft is very real, and should be taken very seriously.  The Sony PSN data breach has exposed consumers to years of potential identity theft incidents, and as Business Week reports, the stolen data may now include debit account information, customer names, bank account numbers and account names of an additional 20+ million customers;

"The risk will stay with as many as 100 million customers of Sony's PlayStation Network, Sony Online Entertainment and Qriocity film and music service for years, even as the chance of credit-card fraud recedes, said Steve Ward, a spokesman for Fairfax, Virginia-based online-security company Invincea."

"The attackers may have your name, your birth date, potentially your mother's maiden name," Ward said in an interview. "These are all the things used to check your identity, and that can be used to falsify it."  (Business Week)
Would you know what to do if you found out your account numbers, passwords, debit card info or even your SSN was now in the hands of a hacker?

By now anyone whose been online, read a paper or seen a newscast knows that last week Sony PSN reported one of the worst data breaches that many experts have ever seen --and  while the numbers of affected individuals continues to climb -Sony continues to advise customers of newly discovered vulnerabilities --that placed millions more people at risk. 

Unlike previous breaches, where victims were concentrated in a particular country, the Playstation network has users in 59 countries and may now affect more than 100 million users of this popular network.  But don't think for a moment that this doesn't concern you because you are not a PSN user.  The thing is, whether or not you are a Sony customer isn't you still need to have your guard.  Data breaches occur on a regular basis. As of April 12th, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse reported more than 9 million records had been breached in 2011 alone. Sooner or later one or more of these data breaches could involve your data.    

Thanks to the various misinformation and erroneous attitudes that tend to paint a misguided picture that tend to lead people to believe that identity theft is more about credit cards and credit reports, and less about the growing threats and types of fraud criminals engage in today,  --it's easy to brush off the risks. 

Victims of identity theft range in age, race, income, education, and gender.  No one is immune!  Criminals today want to access more than your credit card data. They are out to empty bank accounts, take over mortgage lines of credit,  file fraudulent tax returns, obtain housing, jobs, medical services, government documents and commit other crimes in your name, all while using your personally identifying information.  Just ask a few of these victims.

Trouble is, few people truly understand how little sensitive information is needed in order for a crook to rob you of your identity; one data breach, one tech-savvy hacker, one rogue employee, one stolen wallet, misplaced phone, or laptop can quickly turn into a costly and time consuming nightmare. Using stolen data to to create false credit cards, debit cards, passports, birth certificates, or phony tax returns are only a few of the many ways thieves use stolen data.  

Protecting your identity (and stored data) should not be an afterthought. 

Unfortunately, waiting until your identity has been stolen to check your credit reports, bank statements, or implementing a proactive identity protection plan that protects your identity, or your business, could result in years spent trying to undo a costly financial mess.

Identity theft is a low risk crime that criminals have now made the fastest growing crime in America.  Safeguarding identities has to be full time 24/7/365 --because criminals are hard at work, weekends, nights and holidays. They don't have downtime -which means you can't afford to either. 

It's true; our data and it's security is not entirely within our control.  But we are in control of how we deal with that reality. We can be proactive or reactive --pay attention now, or pay much more later.   

Once you understand identity theft, it's easier to fight back.

Identity thieves and cyber thieves make it their job to find ways around or through network security efforts.  While, the data breach of the Playstation network is newsworthy, you should know that these types of incidents are not unique.

Sony's data breach serves as a big reminder that we all need to take data security and identity theft protection seriously. If you don't think about it now,  then when? It's probably safe to say that Sony is asking themselves that question too -if not, they should.  We all should.

The truth is, a majority of businesses only take action after a data theft occurs, and that's risky business.  It's important not to underestimate the value of that well known saying: you can pay now -or pay later.  Sony has reiterated another well known saying:  any game, be it virtual or traditional, the best offense is always a good defense.

To find more info see earlier blog:
What lessons should we learn from the Sony PSN Data Breach? 

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