The world has gone digital; new terms being thrown around. Big data, internet of things, data scientists, SEO, black hats and white hats, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, Internet bots: the list is endless.
One thing is for sure, it has changed the world completely.
Today, it is possible to find out about almost anything in the world in one or two clicks of a mouse (and not the mammal).
Gigabytes or is it exabytes of data are stored in servers and these servers not only know so much about the billions of people in the world accessing information, but also hold some of the most sensitive and personal data of individuals.
Flying out of the country? The immigration system has all your details including your finger prints and face scans. Land in Dubai? They even scan your iris.
Log onto your online banking portal. They have your details and every transaction you make. Looking for an M-Pesa line? Leave behind your ID details including your birthdate and your full name.
Need to register a business? Another portal, that captures all your information.
Now all this might seem pretty common to users, but think for a minute what would happen if this data which is being collected and stored, every single day, was compromised.
A recent documentary by Channel 4, a British public service broadcaster, entitled Ashley Madison:Sex, Lies and Cyber Attacks showcased the story of a ‘dating’ site, that was hacked and all the client information, profiles and in some cases pictures made available in the public domain.
Now you can say that the activities were immoral or unethical, however, the point is that data was compromised as the security systems were weak and open to attack.
Imagine if all your tax records and information was available to anyone in the world, or your most intimate emails being plastered all over social media for people to read and judge you.
As they say for prescription drugs, benefits must outweigh the risks before being prescribed, the digital world, as is, has many advantages.
It has made systems faster and more efficient, it has improved customer experience and it has also allowed us to communicate with any part of the world in seconds. We must not, however, get lax and sit back.
Cyber crime is real and must be prevented and fought with the highest level of attention to detail and investment to safeguard personal data and information.
Of course, this is only one example of security risk; there are others like fraud, infringing on intellectual property, identity theft, cyber bullying/terrorism which the Cyber Security and Protection Bill of 2016 seeks to address.
We are all responsible for our personal data. Do your due diligence before dishing it out.