Security Advisor

Data Breach Fatigue

Do we continuously give companies a pass for letting loose our personal info?

I happen to have a Yahoo e-mail -- one I've had since the late '90s. And one I haven't logged into for close to five years. That's because while I have since added a Gmail account (and a work e-mail account), my Yahoo e-mail has been overrun with spam since Y2K.

So when I first heard the news that there was a chance that my e-mail address and password  info were floating online, I didn't drop what I was doing to check on its status. I really don't care about it that much. Why should I? The e-mail account contained no personal information (due to me never using it).

What I do care about is that, once again, trusting a company as large as Yahoo to keep our personal information safe has been violated.  And while I may not use Yahoo's services other than to read their in-depth sporting analysis (seriously, Yahoo's sports writers are the best), many do. And this includes storing personal information, like contacts and names, in their e-mail profiles.

Jim Walter at McAfee also agrees: "We see this type of attack over and over," he wrote in a blog post. "Most recently LinkedIn and eHarmony were in the news with similar issues. This Yahoo breach is just the latest in a series of similar attacks that occur in multiples every day."

And it is true that these types of incidents happen all the time, causing many of us to feel indifferent to the news that a company we put our trust in couldn't keep our info safe.

It's getting to the point that once news breaks, it's a roulette-wheel chance that the latest breach will affect a service we use. If it doesn't, we breathe a sigh of a relief. If it does, we change our passwords and move on.

Should these companies' feet be held closer to the fire than they seem to be? Or should we all operate with the notion that, at one point, our info will be leaked for all to see and adjust our actions accordingly? Let me know what you think at cpaoli@1105media.com.

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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