Although it should not take a rocket scientist to figure it out, cybersecurity is important. I first reported to you about one of NASA’s security failures in 2012. At that time a laptop computer containing unencrypted personal data of thousands of NASA employees and contractors dealing with NASA was stolen from a NASA employee’s parked car.  The computer was protected by a password, but this would not provide much protection from an experienced hacker. For years companies and governmental agencies have had laptops filled with sensitive unencrypted personal data stolen or lost thereby placing employees and people involved with the companies or agencies at serious risk of identity theft.  Fortunately, there is an easy solution to this problem.  All the companies and agencies have to do is encrypt their data.  Unfortunately, a tremendous number of companies and governmental agencies fail to do so. 
As for NASA which has been successfully hacked thousands of times, once by a 15 year old boy, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has just issued a new report detailing the continued failings of NASA to provide proper cybersecurity. Hopefully, NASA will get the message this time.
But what does this mean to you?
This is another example of the fact that even if you do everything right to protect the security of your personal data, you are only as safe as the weakest place that stores your personal data and since we all have our personal dinformation spread out among so many places, the danger of identity theft is high.  This danger is increased when companies and governmental agencies do not take the basic step of encrypting the sensitive data they hold.   The lesson for us all is to restrict the amount of personal data that is held by companies and agencies unless they truly need it.  Don’t store your credit card number with a company you regularly do business with online because if they are hacked, your credit card information will be taken.  Input it anew each time.  And don’t give your personal information to anyone who doesn’t need it even if they ask for it.  For example, your doctor may ask for your Social Security number, but he or she does not need it.
Finally, we all should do what we can to make sure that we use security software on all of our electronic devices including our phones and make sure that you update your security software whenever new security patches are made available.
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