Editorial: Local data hacks offer warning for the future
Malicious computer hackers are increasingly posing a threat to local and national organizations, businesses and government.
Just this week, two stories in the Aiken Standard chronicled data breaches at Savannah River Site and a local health center.
A 28-year-old resident of England was charged in the hacking of information involving SRS, while the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating a cyber attack at the Margaret J. Weston Community Health Center.
These security breaches should offer pause to anyone who thinks they’re totally free from possibly being hacked. We already know cyber criminals stole three million Social Security numbers from South Carolina in 2012. In one of the biggest data-breaches in history, credit card numbers for seventy million Sony Playstation users were hacked in 2011.
Frighteningly, security experts warn that hackers could even cripple banking systems or even shut down parts of the electric grid, according to PBS NewsHour.
Also, it’s difficult to keep up with computer security. The seemingly state-of-the-art, cutting-edge cyber attacks occurring today are obsolete and available to anyone within a week. As we move faster and faster through the digital age, our vulnerability online subsequently increases.
The cyber attacks involving the Department of Energy, which oversees SRS, affected more than 104,000 employees, and, as of Wednesday, it was unclear how many clients’ records were accessed through the hack at the health center in Aiken. It’s essentially impossible to make anything that’s connected to the internet be perfectly secure, according to computer security experts. Hacks impacting local organizations sadly give credence to that notion.
There’s still more to discover with the ever changing nature of security hacks, but we hope stronger, more effective ways to prevent them are soon developed.