At a glance.
- Safety and privacy considerations in social networking.
- TransUnion cyber incident update.
Striking a balance between social networking and safety.
The social connection that the internet provides can be both a blessing and a curse. Wired explores the challenge of reaping the benefits of social media without exposing too much personal information. This tight-rope walk is especially difficult for those whose professions rely on sharing their lives, particularly as the internet has become the number one way of publicizing new work. How do you keep your private life private when that private life is your career? Trauma therapist Barbara Larew-Adams says, “Be mindful that you may get feedback from those who do not know you nor have your best interest at heart. Since the internet can be highly impersonal and such responses aren’t rooted in a caring connection, people can say cruel things with seeming disregard for how it lands.”
Meanwhile, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram continue to capitalize on turning private details into profit. Gennie Gebhart, activism director at privacy advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation notes that many platforms are designed to push users into making their private lives more public. “Everything from Facebook to payment platforms push you to be ’social,’ even in settings when that’s actually really antisocial behavior.” she explains. Furthermore, companies have become especially savvy at tracking a user’s activity across multiple accounts and sites in order to better predict how they might spend their money, making it the company’s best interest to tease out as much private info as possible. “The system works actively against efforts to protect your privacy and maintain different identities online, no matter how smart and tech-savvy you are,” explains Gebhart.
Update on TransUnion South Africa attack.
As we noted last week, credit bureau TransUnion South Africa suffered a ransomware attack at the hands of the N4aughtysecTU threat group that exposed 54 million personal records. ITWeb reports that South Africa’s Information Regulator met with TransUnion last week to discuss the incident, as the regulator says the company’s security compromise notification is lacking essential details regarding the attack. The hackers have already begun leaking the data of TransUnion clients, including high-profile companies like mobile operator Cell C, King Price, and Bidvest Bank, as well as political figures. The gang says they’ll continue to publish the sensitive data unless TransUnion pays a $15 million (R224 million) ransom, but so far TransUnion says they have no plans to pay up.
Meanwhile, N4aughtysecTU has also begun posting data they claim is from the 2020 breach of credit information services company Experian. “We are demanding USD7.5 million (R110 million) from Experian or we re-leak files tomorrow with TransUnion,” the group threatened. The previous incident, which may or may not be connected to the recent TransUnion leak, exposed the personal data of around 24 million South Africans and nearly 800,000 business entities, data that has popped up occasionally on the dark web in the intervening years.