Also this week; Google began warning users of its enormously popular Gmail service that their accounts may have been the targets of “state sponsored” malicious attacks. They’re not saying exactly which country may be to blame; but the company earlier this year blamed China for hacking the email accounts of US government officials.
Why is all this happening? Money. Why are people eventually going to stop using these services? Money.
When user information is leaked; hackers can immediately turn that information into cash with scams, such as the email phishing attack masquerading as a legitimate email from LinkedIn. It contains a link for users to “secure” their accounts, but when scam victims click on the link; they’re directed to an illegal pharmaceutical site that sells Viagra and other drugs.
In all of these cases; the companies are urging users to take action such as changing their passwords to secure their accounts. What they’re not doing; is securing the accounts for their users, and they’re not demonstrating that they can be trusted to provide safe environments that don’t expose their users to harm.
Eventually; people are going to vote with their feet, and walk away from using so-called “free” services which eventually cost them a lot of time and money as a result of online fraud, identity theft, and other criminal activity. When they do, the companies that haven’t adequately protected their customers are going to lose billions. And you know what?
They deserve it.