In the last few posts, I have been exploring various aspects of cyber-crime and how criminals can use technology against us. Last Sunday (5/19/13) I was watching one of my favorite news magazine shows. This particular episode contained a segment on Facial Recognition software and how far this technology has come in just a few short years.
The segment demonstrated how a photo taken with a digital camera, smartphone, or a company-owned video surveillance camera can be uploaded into massive databases where sophisticated software matches faces to photos on the internet. From there, the company is in possession of a person’s complete online history.
The news segment mentioned that people who have submitted information and photographs of themselves, family members, and friends to social media sites and other websites have unknowingly allowed companies to use that data to serve up targeted ads in real-time as people visit brick and mortar locations. The internet has now invaded the physical world!
The newscast went on to say that business databases were more complete than Government systems since regulations restrict this type of Government action while allowing private enterprises to pursue the collection of data and photos without restriction.
Here’s the concern: anything with an IP address or url can be hacked.
How comfortable are you knowing that big business is in possession of this information, especially in light of past news reports on high-profile break-ins where cyber-thieves stole massive amounts of information including credit card numbers, names and addresses, confidential medical information, etc. What about the many hacks being perpetrated by cyber-thieves every day that don’t make the news?
Could you imagine what cyber-criminals can do with facial Recognition information with complete online histories? It’s one-stop shopping for criminals.
As Facial Recognition Technology becomes more prevalent and prices for the software and systems come down, Small-to-Medium Size Businesses (SMBs) will need to use it to compete and survive in the marketplace. Cyber-criminals know that on average, most SMBs have not taken necessary steps to harden their websites and networks and that they are vulnerable to attack.
It is now more important than ever for SMBs to start investing in IT Security. The old saying, “Pay me now or pay me later” has never been truer. The problem is that the “pay me later” part can literally put an unprepared company out of business.
Vulnerability scanning of websites and networks are crucial and the costs are minimal as compared to what’s at stake. All businesses should have a scanning program and a remediation process in place to find and close website and network vulnerabilities before hackers attack. Constant vigilance is key in the war on cyber-crime.
Not all disasters result from hurricanes, floods, and power failures. Catastrophes can also come about from massive data theft along with large legal and financial penalties companies may experience if confidential information is compromised in systems that should have been better protected.
Take the necessary steps now to protect your clients and business!