Ashley Madison has a simple lesson for all of us, even non-adulterers: The digital world isn’t secure. Don’t entrust it with your secrets.
It seems like only yesterday (but was actually at least a decade ago) that retailers and banks reassuringly promised all your digital financial transactions and personal information were absolutely safe. Heard that in a while? Probably not.
More likely what you hear is, “We’ll make good on your loss and pay for credit-watch services.”
Theft and disclosure of personal data from websites is almost a daily occurrence. People have become inured.
The list of those hacked is a virtual Who’s Who. Retailers such as Target, Neiman Marcus and Home Depot. Financial institutions such as JP Morgan Chase, BofA and American Express. Healthcare giants like Anthem and Kaiser.
The government isn’t safe: Social Security Administration. Office of Personnel Management. Even the Pentagon.
Notice a trend? If not, why not?
The answer is simple: Convenience.
For better or worse, we’re addicted to plastic and doing business digitally. Addiction causes carelessness.
At a restaurant? Shopping at a brick-and-mortar retailer or online? It’s much easier to pull out your credit card than carry a wad of bills. Want to deposit a check without going to bank? Just snap a picture with your smartphone and hit Send.
The danger is deeper than financial transactions.
Anything you do online can be discovered. It could ruin your reputation, cost you your job, or land you in jail.
Imagine the possibilities: Inappropriate or intemperate remarks about clients, colleagues, or customers. Sexting. A photo posted of you day-drinking when you called in sick from work. A digital paper trail of shady business practices.
We’ve all done something online that we shouldn’t. What if your emails, texts, computer files, browser history, and Google searches were made public? It wouldn’t be a pretty sight.
Never underestimate the value of discretion.
“Because Reputation Is Your Most Valuable Asset”
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