Consider the information you have stored on your smartphone or computer, and you can probably understand why encryption keeps your identity secure along with your data. On a smartphone, for example, encryption apps can make it virtually impossible, or at least exceptionally challenging, for any unauthorized person to access your information. In several instances, law enforcement officials have had difficulty investigating phone data on encrypted devices.
For everyday users that won’t typically worry about their phones becoming evidence, data encryption can stop sensitive details from unknowingly going live on the internet. Once hackers compromise information such as email addresses, the rightful owners may not know what’s happened until months pass.
To get an idea of how massive data breaches can become, think about the recent case where more than 770 million email addresses and passwords were exposed to a hacking forum. The cybersecurity researcher who discovered it pointed out that the information likely came from many individual data breaches rather than one gigantic compromise.
Even so, the sheer number of the exposed email/password combinations is enough to highlight how effective hackers can be at obtaining information. It’s also frightening that hackers are getting more creative regarding the ways they use seized data. Some of them impersonate doctors after taking the information associated with medical licenses. Others nab frequent flier miles and use them to make unauthorized flight ticket purchases.