The HP Chromebook 11. Picture: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
The HP Chromebook 11. Picture: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Personal data is a tradable commodity

By Time of article published Nov 7, 2013

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Johannesburg - Most computer users regard the data they have on their machines as more important than the computer itself.

In a 2013 survey carried out by B2B International and Kaspersky Lab, 56 percent regarded their photos and documents as more precious than even expensive hardware.

However, in the event of a malware attack, more than 50 percent of users found they were unable to recover all of their data.

What is more valuable: an expensive computer or a treasured, if blurry, first photo of a child on its hard drive? A laptop, or the emails shared with your nearest and dearest stored in its memory? A shiny state-of-the-art tablet or the video clips of a reunion with old friends filmed using its camera?

Most respondents were consistent in their preferences – personal information means more than any device, no matter how expensive.

Unfortunately, people often lose valuable information: according to the survey, one in five malicious attacks ended with the loss of personal data.

About 61 percent of those users who were attacked were unable to recover all their data. For cybercriminals, personal data is a tradable commodity: they may steal valuable data and use it in further fraudulent schemes, for example, to manipulate the user’s online finances or to block his access to critical information and demand a ransom to get back online.

The widespread use of mobile devices has aggravated the situation: each new personal smartphone or tablet gives the fraudsters an additional angle for attack.

Although the scope and number of cyberthreats are growing, the personal information can remain safe with the help of a reliable security solution.

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