Uncovering Hidden Personal Data In Cybersecurity
By Tom Seest
At BestCybersecurityNews, we help entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, young learners, and seniors learn more about cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity refers to a set of measures designed to defend devices and services connected to the internet against potential attacks by hackers, spammers, and cybercriminals.
Cybersecurity provides businesses and government agencies with protection against phishing schemes, ransomware attacks, identity theft, data breaches, and financial losses. Furthermore, it allows them to build digital trust with consumers.
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Personal data refers to any information pertaining to an identifiable natural person and can be used to accurately identify them. Examples include their name, ID number, location data, IP addresses, or online identifiers, as well as any special characteristics that provide insight into their physical, physiological, genetic, mental, commercial, or cultural identity.
Information gleaned from social media profiles or databases could be used to steal someone’s identity or exploit their details in other ways, including applying fraudulently for credit cards in their name or using bank account details without consent. Therefore, organizations must implement safeguards against this type of security breach.
Personal data in the UK includes personal information such as names, addresses, dates of birth, occupation, and employment history, as well as health data that could identify an individual or be used to locate them. Some information may also be classified as sensitive – for instance relating to criminal convictions or offenses.
Understanding which personal data requires anonymization to avoid confusion and unnecessary costs is paramount in Cybersecurity. Doing this will allow you to take the necessary steps towards taking effective actions in the future.
Pseudonymization is an effective security measure, helping to encrypt personal data and make it harder for it to be identified by anyone, though this process could still be reversed with additional information provided about the data subject. Therefore, it is crucial that organizations understand what constitutes personally identifiable information (PII) and non-PII to ensure they process personal data according to GDPR regulations.
Sensitive personal information should always be protected while in transit or when stored on a server or device, including medical data and protected health information like personal health insurance or social security numbers. Employee personnel records and tax data such as Social Security numbers or Employer Identification Numbers should also be encrypted.
Establishing, categorizing, and protecting personal data can be a complex undertaking for any organization. Luckily, there are various tools and techniques available that can help organizations protect their digital assets. A powerful data protection strategy should include enforcement of company policies, review of employee behavior, and training staff on best data privacy practices, as well as mitigating actions from third parties that might threaten customer data security. Here are a few strategies and techniques you can employ to keep customer information safe:
The best way to protect employees’ personal data is through education on its risks so they can take measures themselves to secure devices and install anti-malware protection and antivirus suites.
De-identification refers to the act of stripping personally identifiable data from datasets. This may be achieved using technical techniques or by adopting policies and procedures; either way, its goal is the same: convert information that could identify specific individuals into information that cannot.
De-identification can be both complex and expensive. Many factors must be taken into account when undertaking de-identification efforts, including how much the data would benefit from its removal of personal identifiers, as well as potential risks that remain. The first step of de-identification should usually involve understanding why data were collected and who has access to that data.
Requests should be directed towards an office, group, or data steward; if your data set is intended for research use, consider sending your request through to a research ethics committee instead.
Data Stewards can assist researchers in devising an appropriate method for de-identifying data. For instance, researchers might ask their data steward to remove personal identifiers from respondents who do not wish to participate in their project.
Once it is decided to undertake de-identification processes, a data de-identification specialist is necessary. A review of safeguards and processes should also be conducted in order to ensure that the receiver is capable of providing de-identification services while following appropriate protocols in handling data.
Identifiability experts typically employ a time-limited certification procedure to establish that data sets have been de-identified. This involves considering anticipated technological and information changes as well as availability to determine an adequate period for this determination.
Determining identifiability can be a complex endeavor that requires deep knowledge across various subjects such as legal regulations, privacy laws, and social science theory and practice. Furthermore, this process demands expertise in how to interpret data so as to de-identify it after analysis.
Researchers may wish not to remove personal names from medical narratives as this information can provide the essential context of patients’ healthcare needs. Furthermore, experts may prefer not removing names as this information could easily link back to individuals through university ID numbers or IP addresses in data.
Sanitization refers to the process of disinfecting an area or surface with antimicrobial cleaners to make it free from bacteria and germs that could potentially cause diseases. It requires expert knowledge, expertise, and resources in order to be performed successfully.
Sanitizing requires using a chemical solution with the capability of killing pathogens and microbes on surfaces and making them bacteria-free. Diluted with water or another diluting agent, these chemicals must be applied delicately so as not to damage or discolor them in any way.
Sanitizing is essential to any public or industrial facility that needs to reduce germs and microbes on surfaces or equipment – including kitchens, hospitals, medical equipment, schools/universities/airplanes/trains, etc.
Sanitizing agents containing sporicidal agents are widely available at hospitals and medical facilities and are typically recommended as part of good housekeeping, environmental monitoring, and manufacturing environment control. However, these sanitizing agents should not replace proper environmental monitoring practices and other good housekeeping measures.
These chemicals contain various properties that impact their ability to eradicate microorganisms; for instance, spore-killing capabilities may vary by product and may only work against vegetative cells and not against gram-positive microorganisms effectively, while others are more effective against gram-negative bacteria, while some even show both antimicrobial activities simultaneously.
Sanitizing products often contain enzymes or antimicrobial agents to combat microorganisms’ growth. While such treatments may not be as effective against vegetative cells, such as spores, they may prove highly effective against yeasts, molds, and viruses.
Sanitizing solutions often contain compounds with the power to disrupt microorganism cell membranes and interfere with their functions, making sanitizers increasingly popular among medical practitioners and healthcare workers. This is one reason for their widespread popularity within this sector.
Once a device or media containing storage nears its end of useful life, it should be sanitized to ensure that the sensitive information stored there has been thoroughly erased before disposal. Otherwise, deleting data might only result in it not actually being erased – potentially leaving sensitive data vulnerable to attacks from attackers.
Please share this post with your friends, family, or business associates who may encounter cybersecurity attacks.