Published On: Sun, Jan 18th, 2015

President Obama Proposes New Laws for Data Hacking Disclosure

Corporations are notorious for holding on to information they believe could be potentially threatening to their sales and reputations. This is especially prevalent when the corporation has become a victim of cyber-crime, such as hacking and stealing information.

When a consumer’s credit card data is at risk, corporations should be more forthcoming about security breaches. President Obama agrees, and he is calling for increased federal legislation that forces corporations to admit to hacking attempts.

The Personal Data Notification and Protection Act

The proposed legislation is aptly titled, but is it enough to protect consumers? The Act is designed to set national standards for how companies react to security breaches. One rule states that corporations must notify their customers of a security breach within 30 days. If that seems a bit too long to you, you’re not alone. Thirty days isn’t enough time to protect oneself against credit card fraud.

The New York Times spoke to Marc Rotenberg, the president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and he had this to say about the proposed act:

“The problem is that the effect will likely be to pre-empt the stronger state laws…We want a federal baseline, and leave the states with the freedom to establish stronger standards.”

Some states, such as California and Connecticut, have very strict laws regarding hacking disclosure. They require that customers be notified within five days. If you’re lucky enough to live in those states, the federal guidelines should suit you nicely. Unfortunately for those living in states without strict laws, the federal mandate may leave you exposed to cyber-crime for a period of 30 days. It’s important to reach out to state politicians, and urge them to create new laws regarding hacking disclosure.

President Obama made moves to battle hackers photo/twitter

President Obama made moves to battle hackers photo/twitter

5 Ways You Can Protect Yourself Right Now

While you wait for the Personal Data Notification and Protection Act to pass, there are things you can do to protect yourself right now:

1. Your very first step should be to update and/or improve your antivirus protection. If your antivirus protection is out-of-date, you’re at an increased risk for infection. Your antivirus should also be capable of warning you when a website has malicious content. These features are going to provide you with added safety when shopping online.

2. It’s also a good idea to change your passwords often, and use a nonsensical combination of letters and numbers. Do not use your birthday, social security number, address, or otherwise identifiable information. It’s also essential to your security that you use different passwords for different things. Never use the same password for everything, as that can lead to multiple hacks. If remembering a lot of passwords is difficult for you, a password manager can help because it manages all your login IDs and passwords in one location; you simply need to remember the master password.

3. Keep your computer updated. By regularly updating your computer and programs you’re ensuring you have the most efficient, up-to-date version available. Newer versions often come with additional security measures, so update often.

4. Only shop on secured websites. It’s important to know the difference between a secure site and a non-secure site. Look at your address bar. “Http” indicates a site is NOT secure; however, “Https” indicates a site is secure.

5. Don’t save your credit card information. Shopping sites often ask if you’ll save your credit card information. Saving the information is more convenient, but not saving the information means your money isn’t at risk if the company is hacked.

Anonymous hackers

Anonymous hackers

The Future of Online Security and the Federal Government

President Obama’s new provisions for disclosure seems to be inspired by recent hacking attempts. Perhaps the most famous is the Sony hack, which published the entire corporation’s inner workings, and a number of inflammatory emails from the company’s bigwigs. Target and Home Depot were also attacked, and those attacks put customer’s credit card information at risk. Even the Associated Press is vulnerable to hacking attempts. In 2013, the AP’s Twitter account was hacked, and the hackers led some to believe the president himself was injured in a bombing.

Based on the president’s reaction to these hacking attempts, it stands to reason that more laws, provisions, and acts will be created depending on need. In the meantime, it’s up to the consumer to protect themselves.

Guest Author: Adam Lee

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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About the Author

- Adam Lee is a financial writer who has insightful knowledge in dealing with different financial issues. He tries to help people to get out of difficult financial situations by contributing financial write ups to websites and blogs such as Moneyforlunch.com and Moneynewsnow.com

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