People sometimes ask me, “Why do you still use Yahoo email?!”
I can’t help but try not to smile sheepishly.
I write about breakthrough technology but use an email address domain from a company founded over 22 years ago… one of the first Internet success stories and one of the ’90s dot-com bubble darlings.
The email address goes back about that far, too. It’s a bit incongruous to some people. Chalk it up to inertia… I’ve been using it so long that it’s hard to change. Either way, it works as well as any other email domain I’ve used.
But I might be changing it soon. I recently had to change passwords when I heard about a huge data breach. A whopping 500 million Yahoo accounts had information stolen by what are believed to be “state actors.”
It’s being called the largest publicly disclosed cyberbreach in history.
Things haven’t been so hot for Yahoo this year. Hackers sold millions of compromised Yahoo accounts on a website residing on the “darknet.” These aren’t sites most people are able to find easily. They reside on networks that operate using special protocols and encryption in order to enable anonymous access.
My reaction may have been a bit reflexive, since it appears the breach happened in 2014.
That’s a bit late to be warning us now about passwords, and besides, I change them regularly anyway.
But this does highlight the fact that we are in a new kind of war. The major players are nation states and criminal organizations. But I repeat myself.
With the number of high-profile breaches taking place lately, this war is escalating. Furthermore, like many wars, most of the casualties are turning out to be civilian.
It isn’t just hackers capturing and releasing email dumps about presidential candidates…
They’re going after you and me.
The rise in cyberattacks has prompted President Obama to launch a cybersecurity action plan that will spend $19 billion in helping American individuals, businesses and government harden up against these threats. The reason is easy to understand. Our information infrastructure — how we store and transmit data — is central to the function of the U.S. economy.
Cybersecurity was even one of the subjects of last week’s presidential debate, and one of the candidates has stated that they would deal with cyberattacks using all means… including military action.
Cyberthreats are a growing trend that threatens to cripple our economy.
Data breaches were accelerating at double-digit rates in the first half of this year. The most common kind is identity theft. Maybe that’s because malware is being downloaded nine times more often than it was last year.
Of course, this also impacts business. It’s critically important for organizations to protect their data, including their customer data. Dropping the ball violates the trust that businesses need in order to operate successfully.
It isn’t just a problem in the US. More than 90% of European businesses have been hit by a data breach, according to a Lloyd’s report.
The cybersecurity market isn’t growing due to just threats. It’s growing because more and more data and devices need to be secured. More and more sensitive data is being stored in the cloud and transmitted across the internet. More and more devices, part of the Internet of Things, need to be protected from malice and mischief.
But every problem is also an opportunity.
A big problem like cybersecurity can be a huge and profitable for firms who can build a better security system. Cybersecurity spending is skyrocketing and vendors who can build the best solutions will see growth in the months and years ahead.
To a bright future,
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This story originally appeared in the Daily Reckoning