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Identity Compromise – The Inevitable

Identity Compromise – The Inevitable



Adobe LogoI’ve been teaching security for nearly 20 years now and up until this week my identity or personal information has NEVER been compromised.

Early this week, I opened my email to notification from Adobe that their systems were breached and my user ID, password and credit card information has been compromised. My designers use Adobe cloud and I pay for them to use it.

Congratulations to all of you, you just became a statistic. The statistics say that 1 in 4 people either will have their identity compromised or know someone who did. You now know someone personally.

The reason I’m letting everyone know about this, is to show you that no matter how careful you are, you can become the victim of such a crime. Remember, security is a process, not a destination!

Protect Your Identity

The saving grace in this instance?

  1. I used a unique password. In fact, I NEVER use the same password for anything which is why I use RoboForm.  So, if the criminals do have my ID and password, they will never be able to use the password on any other sites. The password is useless.
  2. The credit card on file was a PayPal related credit card. All I had to do was call PayPal and notify them. They’ve disabled the credit card immediately and are sending me a new one – with a new number.

So, are you protected?

Do you use the same passwords across many sites? If so, the problem with that is that by the time you’re notified that there’s been a breach, all your accounts could be compromised and your bank funds wiped out. The companies do not notify us the exact day the breach happens. They discover it, do their forensic research and then – and only then – they notify us if they are sure there’s been a breach.  This could be days. It could be weeks. It could be months before you’re aware your information is compromised.

How much damage could be done in the meantime?

You can do all the right things.  I did all the right things and my data was still compromised. In fact, one of my students commented that if it happened to me, what chance do the “mere mortals” have of keeping secure.  And that’s when I reminded her that security is a process.

So you can do all the right things but you’re not in control of how the companies you trust with your information manage their security.

In cyber crimes, it’s not a matter of “if” you’ll be a victim, it’s a matter of “when” it will happen.

Minimize your risk and never, never use the same passwords and/or user IDs for multiple sites and make sure you notify the credit card company immediately in case of a breach!


Image Source: “Adobe” and “the Adobe logo,” are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries. The logo has been used in accordance with the terms set out by Adobe Trademark Guidelines For third parties who license, use or refer to Adobe trademarks (PDF).