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Data breaches have increased by almost half since 2013.
I'll let that sink in.
In 2014 alone, there were over 1,500 data breaches worldwide. Major companies such as Target, Staples, Neiman Marcus, Home Depot, and more were attacked. Millions of customers' credit card information was compromised. If you are one of the lucky folks who have never had your credit card stolen, I'm happy for you. It's a pretty awful experience.
Imagine going to your bank and finding out the employees have been draining the account to fund the mass production of tiny hats for rabbits. First, you become royally ticked off. Then you think of all the things you need to use your money on that are infinitely more important and necessary than tiny hats. After that, you feel violated. When it all finally fully registers in your brain, you're out for blood. You want those employees to be responsible for swindling your money. Most importantly, you want your money back.
While I am sure that most hackers do not intend to produce adorable hats for the pet rabbits of the world, understand that when your money gets stolen, whatever they do with that money seems incredibly ridiculous when compared with what you had intended for it.
If you have had your credit card information stolen, you have gone through this range of emotions and felt the anger associated with it. Here's the good news-the President of the United States is fed up with these data breaches too. In an executive order hailed by Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder of Crowdstrike, President Obama declared that "significant malicious" cyber activity is a national emergency.
This order will allow the United States Secretaries of Treasury and State and Attorney General to freeze assets and prevent transactions with United States financial systems. Additionally, those participating in these activities would also be denied visas. Stewart Baker, former assistant secretary of policy at the Department of Homeland Security, stated, "this is practically an economic death sentence." This is a bold step, but one that many believe is more than necessary.
Some have expressed concerns about the executive order, saying that it could violate due process rights. Assistant to the President for homeland security and counterterrorism Lisa Monaco assures that "This new executive order is specifically designed to be used to go after the most significant malicious cyber actors we face. It is not a tool we will use every day".
We will have to wait and see how effective this executive order is. Finding the person/s behind a cyber attack isn't usually easy and is labor-intensive and time-consuming. Hopefully, the strict sanctions will deter some of the current cybercriminals. The fight against cybercrime will never end as technology evolves, but setting strict standards for those who violate this executive order is a good starting place.
You can read the full executive order here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/04/01/executive-order-blocking-property-certain-persons-engaging-significant-m.
Written by Allison Montgomery / April 1, 2015