A Cautionary Tale I was alone in my office in 2014 when I received a phone call about a recent mortgage application. My family and I were excited to move into a new home that better suited us. I...
A Cautionary Tale
I was alone in my office in 2014 when I received a phone call about a recent mortgage application. My family and I were excited to move into a new home that better suited us. I expected to hear good news from the other end of the receiver—Congratulations! We approved your mortgage application. But, to my surprise and embarrassment, the voice on the other end told me that I was denied.
The rejection came as quite a shock to me. I was fully on-top of my finances and paid all my bills on time. So, I started to look into what had happened and learned I was denied because my credit score had suddenly plummeted. My stomach sank. How could this be?
Turns out, I was hacked. The resulting identity theft killed my credit score.
To call it disturbing would be putting it lightly. I felt violated and out of control. I thought I would lose my savings and that everything I had worked so hard to build throughout my career was now at risk. Even worse, I worried how this would affect my family in light of our search for a new place to call home. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so alone in my office even though I was the only one there.
I asked myself, how could this happen to me? I was the CEO of a successful tech company and I not only considered myself tech savvy, but an expert. But the criminals were still able to find me.
I knew I had to act quickly to repair the damage done to my finances, but I didn’t know where to start. I needed to make sure this never happened again. I identified a team of experts to help me take stock of the damage and assess the tools available to help me track my online identity moving forward. Two weeks later, they arrived at a recommendation. They told me to subscribe to a laundry list of cybersecurity tools costing around $80 a month. While the tools could watch many of my blind spots, there were still gaps. And, they were little more than glorified alarms. So, after spending nearly $1,000 a year, I could still be breached again, only now I would know sooner.
This wasn’t the solution I was looking for. The onus was still on me to investigate and mitigate each threat. There had to be something better.
The Cost of Connectivity
I knew I needed a better understanding of present-day digital safety. It was embarrassing. But, I took solace in the fact that I'm not alone. Roughly 10% of the US population falls victim to identity fraud and digital crime every year. That's 30 million people. And that number is soaring.
The dangers we face online have evolved far beyond traditional security threats like ID fraud. Online harassment, location service misuse and data privacy violations are all on the rise.
This is because we're more connected than ever before. At the time of my attack, my compromised devices were a part of the 15.41 billion connected to the internet. Today, that number has more than doubled to nearly 36 billion connected devices. The average consumer email address is linked to a staggering 150 online accounts.
Today, digital crime is a multinational enterprise. Long gone are the days of lone hackers on dial-up modems. Yet, our security solutions haven't evolved at the same pace as cybercrime. We're dealing with a 'lethal lag' that's threatening the online safety of millions.
This is just the present day situation. Looking ahead is another case entirely. We must accept that there will be new risks, threats and exploits with the evolution of the internet. Our current security solutions aren't enough. We must find ways to automate solutions to stay ahead of new challenges.
Online Security Lacks Adaptability
Let's start with the primary issue. The major security systems we use today were conceived pre-cloud. Meaning, at best, they're outdated and unequipped to deal with modern computer systems. And, at worst, they're directly harming our safety through incompatible and substandard technology. Criminals have gotten smarter—but our security hasn't.
Companies that offer pre-cloud technology don't do so because they don't want to innovate. They do it because they can't innovate. To innovate would require expensive overhauls to their entire solutions network.
Another major issue lies in the lack of integration of our common security solutions. We use standalone products like antivirus protection and virtual private networks (VPNs). One service protects your credit. One ensures device security. The next monitors your bank accounts. Yet another helps you manage your passwords. Such patchwork systems leave glaring gaps in individual protection. Moreover, each person's digital footprint is unique. So, we need something more personalized.
Collectively, we've reached a point-of-no-return with our digital lives. Connectivity is evolving. The Metaverse and Web 3.0 are coming, and they're guaranteed to strain our current systems even more. When they do, we'll see another instance of trying to force old ways to fix new problems.
We need modern, adaptive, full-spectrum protection to see us through the coming decades. We can't let a lack of innovation stall us at a critical point in our hyperconnected history.
Modernizing The Security Space
We're facing a brand new set of threats that legacy solutions were never intended to fight. Data privacy, location service misuse, and online harassment are new front lines. This disconnect will only grow as the Metaverse and Web 3.0 come to the forefront.
Integrating the latest technology the world has to offer is the next logical leap. Artificial intelligence can make protecting ourselves more proactive, personalized and autonomous.
AI can account for the entire security spectrum through its incomparable learning capabilities. Instead of reacting to security threats, it anticipates them. This adaptation is pivotal. It means our security can finally keep pace with the rapid evolution of our digital lives. As we change, so does the AI.
This 'intelligent safety' ends up protecting the consumer on both a micro and a macro level. It deters threats to individual devices while predicting larger-scale criminal trends. It stops crime before it starts. It also allows us to create more comprehensive and effective solutions than ever.
The Importance of Automation
AI and machine learning are loaded subjects. As we become more sophisticated as a digital society, our safety should follow suit. When faced with the question of protecting your financial information or leaving it unmonitored, the choice is simple. The prospect of having your life savings stolen and your credit damaged to the point you can’t open a new card—let alone buy a house—is scarier.
Our modern digital infrastructure is too complex to handle patches and updates. And we, as humans, don't do that great of a job either. When we get the alert to update the software on our devices, we silence it and go back to our scrolling. But, I see a different path forward.
Instead of the onus being on us to resolve alerts, what if technology could step in as our assistant? What if AI helped change your passwords when they are exposed online or on the Dark Web? You’d no longer have to log in, navigate the process, create a strong password and secure it. The more we can keep pace with the rapid change of technology, the safer we'll be. This is but one small example of how technology can help us do just that.
The Evolution of Intelligent Safety
I understand from experience how deeply personal security can be. I was ashamed, embarrassed, and unsure what would happen next when I got hacked and my credit score fell flat. Ultimately, I was able to mitigate the damage, but it took over a year to do so. It wasn’t without significant financial cost either. Eight years later, I still feel the pain. Every year during tax season, I have to go in person to the social security office to prove my identity. It’s not a visit that I look forward to.
Back then, I couldn’t stop thinking about an alternate scenario. What would have happened if there was a solution that prevented hacking in the first place? My experience taught me that there were too many tools too narrow in their scopes. Nothing on the market was proactive, only reactive.
This realization is what led me to build something better—Aura. It's the first intelligent safety solution to stay ahead of hackers. It is everything now that I needed then. And my sincere hope is that it can help to safeguard you and your loved ones too.
We do everything online. With automation and AI, we can achieve the promise of intelligent safety and create a safer internet for everyone.