A year ago, Nimesh Shah, owner of a social media group, bought a car and got free insurance cover. Last month, another insurance company called him for a renewal. “They know my car’s model number, its colour, the day I bought it and when the insurance expires. It’s as if a hidden camera is capturing my movements, and I can’t do anything about it,” said the 31-year-old.
Shah was the victim a huge problem in India — lack of data security.
Most of us apply for credit cards, banks loans, insurance, etc, and in the process pass on personal information to the service provider. However, this data is not always safe. It could be passed on to marketers or could even be stolen by them.
According to research by Seclore Technology, a data security firm that developed the Filesecure information protection software, 80 per cent of consumers’ personal information lies in unprotected files.
This lack of security means pesky telemarketers could get hold of your personal information and phone numbers easily, terror groups could use your name and details to send threats, and corporate rivals could get hold of soft copies of your company letterhead to sabotage your operations and ruin your name.
A Mumbai pharmaceuticals firm was the victim of such a crime. A few months ago, six to seven people crowded the office of its HR manager Shilpa Deodhar (name changed), claiming they had been appointed to various posts in the company. They had offer letters on the company letterhead.
It turned out that an ex-employee had stolen the soft copy of the letterhead to make the fake offers.
IT guru Vijay Mukhi, consultant to the police’s cyber crime cell and president of Foundation for Information Security and Technology, said: “India is the only country where data theft is a civil offence, not a criminal one [which means you can’t go to jail for it]. This is why most corporate houses don’t bother to file cases of data theft.”