Why bother changing your password?

Does it really make a difference whether or not you update your password? Are you really more secure after you change it?

Well, maybe you are, until the next breach or security flaw gets exposed.  How many of us have reached complete apathy when it comes to protecting personal information?  It’s not like consumers are on the hook for anything (directly) when their credit cards get nicked and illegal purchases are made on their account.  We simply need to call the card company and, like magic, the charges go away.  The really good credit card companies monitor your account and alert you when suspicious stuff is going on.  How about that?  It’s like you don’t have worry about anything.  Has this lulled us into a false sense of security?

Makes one start to question how safe (or how unsafe) the Internet has become with respect to personal data security and privacy.

With so much commerce being conducted via the Internet, perhaps the truth about just how vulnerable we are is not fully known. After all, there is a tremendous amount of money being invested and profits being made from the Internet, cloud and mobile. Is it even an option to simply turn off the Internet for a while? Not really.

It seems we are past the point of no return for something like “abandoning” the Internet to happen.  The Internet has quickly become enmeshed in nearly every aspect of our lives that imagining going about your daily activities without it is, well, unimaginable. Think about the younger generation, who broadcast so much personal information daily on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.  It seems my kids’ generation are almost oblivious to the loss of privacy.  Either that or they just don’t care.  I’m not sure which is worse.

And what about all those “free” games we all love to play on our smartphones and tablets – harmless, right? I guess it depends on your mindset. Of course, the pensive individual ponders how the companies who develop these games make money. I know that it’s all those annoying ads that pop up between your games of Solitaire. That’s part of it, but those hand held devices are little broadcasting stations and those free apps are pumping out all sorts of your personal data.  These apps know where you are, what you are doing and what you are buying. And, while we give this information up willingly, they are quietly watching and monitoring us like an obsessive stalker.  You can queue up The Police song “Every Breath You Take” as you fire up your smartphone to check email, bank balance, buy a latte, check in on your favorite social app or kill some time playing a mindless game.  It is like living in a technological glass house.

Forget Big Brother, it’s Big Family and everybody is watching. Creepy right?

Now, there is no arguing the massive convenience that the Internet and mobility devices provide. I personally cannot imagine ever going back to shopping exclusively at brick and mortar stores.

So, therein lies the quandary.  How do you continue to do something that you know puts your personal information in harm’s way?  I want to trust in the system.  I want to believe that eventually improved security and privacy advocates will prevail, but I am finding that pill harder to swallow every day.  I look with quiet awe at my kids’ carefree approach towards technology and personal privacy.  It borders on irreverence. A part of me envies their openness and devil-may-care attitude towards virtually every aspect of their lives being digitally tracked.

Ignorance is bliss I suppose.  Which brings me back to where I started. Does it really matter if you change your password? After all, they know everything else about you.