Should Malaysians worry about that reported data breach?

In the age of information, we need more, not less, awareness about security

Lowyat was recently ordered by MCMC to take down its reporting on shady online sales of personal data, allegedly taken from various telcos and medical associations, as well as housing loan information.

You can't erase the Internet

The problem with the move is that it doesn't address whether the sales were legitimate and whether customers should be worried.

The trade in personal information is nothing new - on the Darknet, sales of user information hacked from various databases is commonplace. Which is why you should change your password fairly frequently and resist the urge to merely reuse old passwords, as it's likely that old password could be on some Darknet repository.

With so many websites demanding you submit your data to access content, it's a given that at least one of your email addresses is on some spam mailing list. But if the telco breach is real, it makes customers vulnerable not just to annoying spam calls but to the attentions of scammers.

Online phone scams have proliferated lately, with scammers pretending to be anything from bank personnel to policemen. They often succeed by successfully persuading their victims they are the real deal, preying on their fears and using the data they have on their victims to carry out the con.

What's a Malaysian to do then? Apart from changing important passwords, it's time to re-evaluate the safety of any/all of your online accounts with any local provider. This might also be a good time to educate yourself on the most common phone scams and be judicious about answering the phone. As the old adage goes, better safe than sorry - and it's time customers wake up to the fact that no entity can truly guarantee the safety of your personal data.