Keeping your data secure is something you need to be constantly aware of. Apart from the army of people out there who actively seek your credit card and other financial and personal details, not to mention the breadcrumbs that accumulate to a substantial loaf of data on social media, it’s too easy to give the stuff away on your own.
It’s really all about trust. We’re not very good at choosing whom we trust, as we tend to trust people we know – or even people we have around us sometimes. As an example, I present a little scenario I encountered yesterday on a train.
The train divides en route, so to get to your destination, you need to be in the right portion of the train. An individual opposite me sat for 45 minutes through seemingly endless announcements – from the guard, the scrolling dot matrix screens, and the irritatingly frequent, automated announcements – all conveying the same information both before, during and after the three or four stops before we arrived at the decision point about which bit of the train to be in.
At the station where a decision had to be made, she leaned across and asked if she was in the right portion of the train for her destination.
Why? She would rather trust other passengers than the umpteen announcements. She’s not alone, as I’ve seen this happen countless times.
So it’s all about whom you trust. As passengers, we were trustworthy.
So presumably were the security researchers with clipboards standing at railway stations asking passengers for their company PC’s password in exchange for a cheap biro. They gathered plenty of passwords.
I recently left a USB phone charger in a hotel belonging to a major international chain. They said they would post it back if I sent them a scanned copy of my credit card to cover the postage. That they offered suggests there must be plenty of people willing to take the gamble that their email won’t be read by someone who shouldn’t. Not to mention what happens after the hotel has finished with the data. Can they be sure the email would be securely deleted?
I declined the offer and suggested that this major chain could afford the £7 it would cost to pop it in the post. Still waiting, but not with bated breath. I don’t trust them.