Americans Now Live in a Hacked World

A rash of recent hack attacks prove that no data is completely safe online anymore. Hackers have begun to take over online systems everywhere, targeting personal, corporate, and even highly sensitive government data. The reality: Americans suddenly live in a hacked world and have to face the consequences.

In the last day, Citigroup (C) admitted that 360,000 credit card records had been broken into online, more than was originally suspected when the banking giant announced the initial problem two weeks ago.

But Citigroup is not alone. ADP, the largest provider of payroll services in the U.S., announced this week that its computer system had been hacked. It is staggering to think what hackers could do with the payroll data for millions of workers, or whether money could actually be taken out of payroll accounts. The CIA website was also hacked Wednesday by a group which calls itself Lulz Security. If the CIA site is not safe, what sites are?

These hacks, which are only likely to increase in number, leave Americans with the question of how much of their information they want online. Some data, like bank account information, cannot be hidden unless customers want to take their cash and put it into safes. But, people routinely give credit card data to sites like Amazon (AMZN), give health data to doctors who keep it online, and keep information about themselves on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn which is only meant to be shared with friends.

It appears that people will need to accept the fact that data about themselves, their private lives, and their finances will be at greater risk as sophisticated hackers take down more and more security systems. Each time there is a new breach, it is clear that even the most sophisticated security software is inadequate.

The consumer and the person who keeps parts of his or her identity online is now in a universe of risk that did not exist a years ago. Unfortunately, there is nothing to change that world back to what it was, at least not in the foreseeable future.

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I write a blog for the insurance agency where I work and we wold love to use your article in a post. Is there some way to embed this article? And do we need permission to do this? Thanks for your help!

Holland Michael
Hayes, Utley & Hedgspeth Insurance Agency
Louisville, KY

June 20 2011 at 9:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


June 18 2011 at 11:35 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to democracks0's comment

I couldn't have said it better myself dear. Thanks.

June 19 2011 at 5:30 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

kitkit4 stick your academy where the sun don't shine

June 17 2011 at 6:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

it's common sense. i won't put my social security number, credit card number or bank account number on line.

June 17 2011 at 1:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to thomasva6's comment

Any online brokerage accounts, bank accounts, and probably 50 other things that you don't even realize like drivers license and tax information is connected to the internet whether you want it to be or not.

June 18 2011 at 1:03 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Citi Bank trying to make more money on their customers moved all his customer service to India along with all possible computerized banking program department . So, now all our personal data in a hands of the Indians and their computer analysts. No wander that it gets leak out. This is why I'm not doing much of my banking with Citi Bank.
Because, if they want our personal financial data be safe bring all that information back home to US along with thousands job as well.


June 17 2011 at 11:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

you want to talk about hacked, well our leaders in government has hacked Americans with NAFTA. Claiming one world economy, thats a lie, NAFTA only benefits our politicians wealthy friends in manufactureing so they can send their manufactureing to third world countrys utilizing child, slave and prison labor (and doing it on our tax dollars)and then sending their products back to America duty free trippling their profit margin. All of this at the cost of American jobs and these un-American communist manufacturers are still getting tax breaks from their politician friends in congress. I wonder where a lot of this profit margin goes.

June 17 2011 at 7:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think we need a whole new set of laws about internet hacking and scams. We need to come up with a way to track these people and when caught they get minimum sentences of 20 years in prison with NO parole. That may be the deterent needed to stop this. Identity theft is another problem with people stealing peoples mail. I had that happen in my neighborhood. I bought a locked mailbox but I had a neighbor ripped off for $10,000 in credit card losses by someone stealing thier mail. They caught the person who basically got a slap on the wrist. Why? She was a minority and poor.

June 17 2011 at 4:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Start putting these hackers in jail.

June 17 2011 at 1:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Charlie's comment

Most are in Russia or China. Good luck.

June 18 2011 at 1:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Did you know that all Med systems are all preparing for new Health Care & demanding info? It is already going int national data base for all med systems to see. So telling any one to not put your info in computer anymore is impossible. I only know of 1 DR that will not use pc system. She is very aware & evidently very futuristic, even tho I hate doing all that paperwork. I commend her. & now I see her way of thinking.

June 17 2011 at 12:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Here is an elegant and simple solution to keep personal, especially, medical information out of the wrong hands. Mandate that anyone who claims the right to have your personal information be made absolutely liable for any damage done to your privacy. mandate that all personal information be stored in strictly offline computers, only, with human intervention required to place said information on line. This means that your doctor will not be able to place the office computer with patient records on it online. The doctor may only use a dedicated on line computer for internet work and may only transmit medical records by first transferring them manually via disc or other portable storage device from the records computer to the internet computer. Similar requirements should be mandated for banks and insurance companies. All private Institutions should be banned from keeping personal records without a demonstrable need to know and permission from the person who owns the information, in writing. The owner of personal information should be legally defined without exception as being the person described by the personal information. This definition needs to be etched in stone and never negotiable in business dealings. This will keep financial institutions and insurance companies from abusing our citizens. An opt in rather than an opt out law must be passed which mandates permission in writing from each person one wishes to store personal information on. This will prevent illicit sites from having information you don't want them to have. Civil libertarians take note. the US constitution does not define storage or transmittal of potentially compromising or embarrassing personal information as protected free speech or press. The first amendment does not pertain to storage and transmittal of one's private records. The US constitution also recognizes a right to privacy. The US Constitution forbids the usurpation of private power by institutions of all sizes through information and its control. It is time we begin enforcing this right to privacy.

As far as hackers go, they need to be punished. Any person caught invading a computer without authorization in writing from the owner of that computer should be forced to pay for all damage caused. The hacker should also face a mandatory minimum of five years in prison without parole and no outside contact, especially computer access. Hacking should be defined as the usurping, invading, installing, or doing anything to a computer without the express written permission of the computer's owner. Written should mean written on hard copy with a hand written signature. All forms of uninvited malware/spyware should be defined as hacking and punished accordingly, even when the source of the malware/spyware is a large institution. The officers of the institution which wrote and/or transmitted the malware/spyware should be punished just as any other hacker.

June 16 2011 at 11:19 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply