A Security Breakdown

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In the last two days it has been announced that there are some security flaws in the Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) software that I’ve been using for over twenty years to encrypt Email messages and documents. Actually the problem is connected to the Email plug-ins that allow the encryption to take place automatically. The problem is more inconvenient than anything.

The security of messages and data is an increasingly important thing. The days when we could safely use the same password for everything are long gone. Even the most simple or routine users or the Internet need to ensure they secure their data. Stories of hacking of Email with disastrous financial impact regularly appear in the press. Only yesterday the BBC reported on widespread viewing of domestic video cameras in people’s homes by snoopers around the world. Video feeds of children and infants were watched around the world as were images of homes of the elderly. All because the data was not sufficiently secure.

We can no longer cut ourselves off from the rest of the world if we want to access the stuff that makes 21st century life work. Bank accounts, doctor’s records and even¬† shopping are all increasingly accessed online.

The same is true for education. More and more is offered online and that places real responsibility on learning providers to secure the data of the learners.

We can expect that we will continue see more breaches in online data security. More software will be discovered to have flaws. No matter how careful we are gaps will continue to appear. In the meantime we will continue to have to do whatever we can to be secure enough expecting that we will have to do better tomorrow.

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