Does Big Data Mean A Bigger Target For Hackers?

The bigger data gets, the bigger a temptation it becomes for hackers. US retail giant Target Corporation must be well aware of the irony found in its name, after last week’s attack that now sees the details of around 360 million of its customer accounts available on cyber black markets.

As we create, publish and store more and more types and quantities of information online, the potential for things to go wrong in some capacity or another also increases. In 2012 alone, 160 million people were affected by data leaks, which was 40% up on the previous year. While server failures and human error account for some of the data leaks and losses, 67% of data loss incidents have been the result of hacking attacks.

Data is highly valuable, that much is obvious. The fact that people are a) trying to get hold of it, and b) willing to break the law in some cases to do so only serves to further highlight this issue. But why in that case do so many individuals adopt such a laissez-faire attitude to looking after their own personal data? In a 2013 study, 50% of UK internet users surveyed said that they never back up the content they post to social networks.

More and more information is being collected and stored, with many companies looking to benefit from big data. So there is definitely value to your content. But is the over-eagerness to collate this information and subsequently harvest it actually detrimental to the overall quality of the data and what information can be successfully extracted?

Gordon Harrison, an industry consultant at data analytics specialist SAS said that “Big data is about pushing the needle out of the haystack irrespective of how big the haystack has become or how small the needle is.”

As well as the potential inaccuracies, as more and more personal information is amalgamated together, big data stores will be targeted by hackers more frequently. At SocialSafe we believe big data is wrong… for the individual. Instead of a number of organisations holding mass stores of information about millions upon millions of individuals, why not let the individuals hold all their own information themselves, putting them completely in control of their data?



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