As we enter the world of Big Data, an often cited topic of the industry is security and privacy of consumer data. Given the scepticism of some in data security, the recent news of the leak in LinkedIn customers' passwords was an example of how a data company did not protect its data.
As a regular LinkedIn user, the news was a worrying one. I wasn't so worried about the leak in personal data, after all the uploaded resume on LinkedIn was for all to see. What the hackers were really going after was the repeated use of same passwords used by users across multiple sites, such as web mail, bank accounts and so on, where personal financial data can be found.
As a consumer who fills up forms and enters personal data into at least one out of five websites, I often wonder about the ways companies protect their consumers' passwords. A quick search online revealed that the most basic step taken by companies are to camouflage them with basic encryption – also known as "hashing". This is done by mixing up the password with a mathematical algorithm and storing only the "hashed" version. To add further protection, some companies may add a series of random digits to the end of each hashed value, also known as "salting".
Indeed, it is not rocket science and does not cost a bomb to protect passwords. So why are companies not doing them? Amidst the numerous reasons, security experts cite that the problem is a lack of liability as computer security is not regulated and companies simply skim on basic protections.
As we continue our march into the world of Big Data, let us not forget the issue of security and privacy. Big Data World Asia 2012 will cover this, and many more hot topics of the industry. Join us by registering here!
Download the event prospectus here.