American Consequences - September 2019


Financial follies and disaster in the making

Even tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google have been breached... Companies that regularly assure us they’re on the leading edge of privacy protection. Right here in Baltimore, we’ve only recently recovered from a security breach and ransomware attack that occurred in May... an incident that affected the e-mail and voicemail of city officials, as well as parking ticket databases and the systems used to pay utility bills and taxes. In lieu of paying a bitcoin ransom of roughly $75,000 to $100,000, the city chose to recover and restore the systems itself... at a cost of about $18 million. And Baltimore isn’t alone. The city is just one of at least 169 state and local governments affected by security breaches and ransomware since 2013. And while neither Baltimore nor the FBI have said how the breach occurred, odds are good that human error and even apathy played a role. Yes, apathy.

Hack the planet...

In an April letter to shareholders, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon made a bold claim... He singled out what he believed to be “the biggest threat to the U.S. financial system.” But the top executive of America’s largest financial institution wasn’t referring to any of the things you might expect... like plunging stock prices, record debt levels, or growing trade tensions between the U.S. and China. He was referring to something far more insidious: a failure to defend American electronic networks, online control systems, and computers from relentless cyberattacks. In just the first six months of 2019, there were 4.1 billion “compromised records” in data breaches... including passwords, usernames, private photos, credit-card data, and even Social Security numbers. That’s more than a dozen pieces of important, private information for every single American.


September 2019

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