I love pie, especially a warm slice of pumpkin pie topped with a dab of cool whip. Although this sounds incredibly tasty, and I’m a bit heartbroken to say I am currently without, this isn’t the kind of “PII” I’m talking about.
But there’s no reason to worry. Our fresh dab of cool whip to brighten your day will come in the form of another PII, or Personally Identifiable Information. That’s a mouthful of words, but rest easy. Instead of eating this PII, we are going to protect it.
Let’s go ahead and dig in.
One of the most common types of information assets we encounter in our Defensive Sphere engagements is PII. Human resources departments, financial institutions, insurance agencies, healthcare, education, you name it… Personally Identifiable Information, or PII, is everywhere.
So, what is PII?
PII is information that can be used on its own or with other information to identify, contact, or locate a single person, or to identify an individual in context.
PII can be found in most companies as well as everybody’s personal life. Everybody has PII, and very often the companies we work for interact with other people’s PII.
Examples of PII include:
· Social Security Number (SSN)
· Date and place of birth (DOB/POB)
· Mother’s maiden name
· Medical information
· Financial information
· Email address
· Driver’s license number
· Passport number
PII is highly sought by cyber criminals for many nefarious purposes so it’s very important to protect it.
The biggest reason is identity theft. An increase in spam or unsolicited phone calls is a nuisance, but identity theft can negatively impact your credit, finances, and family life.
Identity theft can result in the following:
· Financial problems
o Compromised bank accounts
o Stolen money from accounts and investments
o Unauthorized credit cards and transactions
o Increased debt
· Credit issues
o Damaged credit scores
o Inability to purchase home or car
o Increased financial loss due to lower credit rating
· Medical benefit losses
o Improper use of your medical benefits
· Legal problems
o In some cases, you could become the criminal if your stolen identity is given to police
o Failed criminal background checks
o Attorney fees related to clearing your name/credit
· Personal cost
o Lots of lost time, money, and reputation
Continue to Protect your PII - Small Changes. I’ll introduce you to steps you can take to protect it.
In the meantime, go treat yourself to a piece of your favorite pie.
Protect Your PII Series: