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Phuket Tech Talk: Don't bank on the future

Last year revealed some shocking revelations....

By Byron Noel

Monday 10 February 2014, 05:15PM

With the news that the US government has been spying on the entire globe, it leads us to wonder just how much other governments are involved in the same thing. The US programme was just the biggest, and most likely to have been uncovered.

We already know that other governments were actively helping the US spy on other nations. As shocking as all this is, I find the fact that most people don’t seem to care even worse.

Still, it’s hard to blame people. Most of us have little to no idea how the modern world of communications works, because it can be so complicated.

The argument that all of this is for our safety against terrorism is a fair one, but who is guarding the guardians? At the moment, no one.

A scary thought indeed, but it is nothing in comparison to what 2014 has in store for us.

The government may be snooping, but unless you actually are a criminal, you probably won’t find them taking your banking information (at least not that we know of). However, there are now literally thousands of other people worldwide who are very interested in your banking information.

You still get the odd e-mail scam catching people out, but the real danger nowadays comes in the very convenient form of swiping your card.

Yes, swiping your card is now just as risky, if not more so, than walking around with a wad of cash on Bangla.

Laguna Golf Phuket

Crooks can now steal your information from ATM’s and businesses where you swipe your card. Quite a frightening thought, so what can you do?

In a word; nothing.

The problem lies with the businesses and banks that we all use. Cyber crooks have figured out that stealing batches of card information is a multi-billion dollar industry, and boy are they investing.

ATM card scanners can now be ordered online, and anyone with the right skills can ‘hack’ into a system that stores card information.

Department store chain Target, in the US, is a prime example of what the right software can do. In just two weeks, over 70 million customers had their data stolen from this retail giant.

That’s one attack on one retailer, so you can imagine the potential global scale of this problem.

If a big US retailer can get caught out, what kind of protection do our Thai retailers have? This is the kind of question that we, as consumers, need to start asking ourselves. With over a billion US dollars being stolen annually in the US alone, this is serious cause for concern.

As the world gets more connected this kind of crime will only become more prevalent, and I predict 2014 will see cyber-crime on a scale that we have not seen the likes of before.

That is, unless all retailers and banks get their act together. Don’t hold your breath… and watch your bank statements.



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