Vulnerabilities of our techno-laden world

Almost a quarter of a million stock market online investors’ personal data may have been stolen by hackers, as reported by the country’s largest online stockbroker, COL Financial to the National Privacy Commission on October 20. The company informed its clients that its computers were subject of a “possible breach” and further advised them to change their passwords used to access their online trading portfolios.

Early last year, the country suffered its worst ever government data breach when personal information, including fingerprint data and passport information belonging to around 70 million people is said to have been compromised by hackers, as reported by BBC. Then just barely a month, the Philippine Commission on Elections (Comelec) saw its website defaced by hackers.

In the global scene just in September, Equifax Inc, a U.S. provider of consumer credit scores, announced that personal details of as many as 143 million U.S. consumers were accessed by hackers between mid-May and July, in what could be one of the largest data breaches in the United States.

It gets even nastier when Wired Magazine noted that the first six months of 2017 have seen an inordinate number of cybersecurity meltdowns, ranging from massive and viral WannaCry ransomware, to leaks of spy tools from US intelligence agencies, to full-on campaign hacking.

These are the downsides of technology and a connected world – one that can be manipulated, as underscored by Marc Goodman, New York Times best-selling author of “Future Crimes”. He goes on to give examples of terrorists who can use smartphones and Google Earth and to stage attacks on nations and states, and advanced drug cartels that could synthetically modify organisms to produce illegal narcotics.

He is not only a futurist but a realist as well. Having worked in law enforcement and technology, he states early in the book, “The cornucopia of technology that we are accepting into our lives, with little or no self-reflection or thoughtful examination, may very well come back and bite us.”

Then he goes on to describe the vulnerabilities we all face as consumers of technology, citing a scary statistic that 600,000 Facebook accounts are compromised each day. He describes how scammers sell fake versions of apps and can suck down sensitive personal information in the process by manipulating app stores.

He then points out the how Facebook, Google, and Twitter make money from using our personal information and erode our privacy, and how flawed antivirus software create a false sense of security which hackers can exploit.

But in the end, Goodman implores us to take responsibility for the tech-laden world that’s unfolding before us by considering the most extreme scenarios and taking action.

Catch Marc Goodman give share more insights as he delivers his keynote in PiliPINASCon 2017 with the theme “Increasing the Filipino’s Awareness on Cybersecurity” this Nov 28 at The Tent, Enderun Colleges, McKinley Hill, Taguig City, organized by Global Chamber Manila. The conference is packed with practical insights and visionary prognostications on the state and future of cybersecurity in the Philippines and the world, with a host of experts and panelists from tech companies, government agencies, NGOs and industry associations, and academe.

For more information, you can email or register online at

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of FINEX. The author may be emailed at

Reynaldo C. Lugtu Jr. is the Managing Director of The Engage Philippines, digital marketing and customer engagement solutions company.  an information and communications technology firm. He is the Chairman of the ICT Committee of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX). He teaches strategic management in the MBA Program of De La Salle University. He is also an Adjunct Faculty of the Asian Institute of Management.