A recent article by Fairfax Media reported that a lone hacker stole the personal details of thousands of Australian Defense Forces Academy (ADFA) students and staff during a raid he carried out ”for fun”. The article highlighted concerns about privacy and risk of further personal information being collected.
For me, this article was another ‘red flag’ associated with the risks of establishing ‘our’ digital footprint on the ever increasing ubiquitous internet. Joining the disparate pieces of information together can help establish profiles that in the hands of the nefarious, terrorists, and foreign governments can compromise an individual’s security, position and integrity during the course of their everyday life.
Historically, these risks were normally associated with the covert world of espionage to compromise and secure ‘assets’ of information. This same information today can also be used by terrorist cells, subversives or even ordinary people to exact reprisals well beyond the field of engagement and also far into the future. The instigators for ‘targets of opportunity’ today can in all likelihood become themselves the targets for future reprisal. A current serving defense force member, operational in the field of combat on foreign soil, may return home, leave the service and begin the next phase of their everyday life. Their digital foot print however could see that very same person identified by their historic ‘foe’ in the future with abject consequence, either personally or to their family.
As we embrace the technologies of the ‘day’, participate more and interact in an ever increasing online social network, the risks compound at a phenomenal rate. The options available to mitigate risk seem to be narrowing to a conscious choice of either participation or abstention. There is little if any ‘middle’ ground. We are either accepting of the risks of our online presence and participation or we abstain from going online. Even with the choice of abstinence, there is still the risk that friends, loved ones, colleagues or associates might still perpetuate our online presence by virtue of posting (and tagging) images, videos or general reference.
Our digital footprint is established, the future steps should be taken with caution in mind. No longer is it just ‘Big Brother’ that is watching, it is the World in totality. There seems little we can do to prevent these risks, but I would urge people to be cognitive in thinking how we can mitigate the impacts for our everyday lives and the lives of those close to us.
Useful link CyberSmart.