What’s the most valuable item that someone has ever tried to steal? In the 21st century, it isn’t the Mona Lisa –– it’s data. Worth more than its weight in gold, data theft is projected to cost the world $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. These cybercrime costs include the damage and destruction of data, theft of intellectual property, theft of personal and financial data, and more. As cybercriminals double down on attacks, it’s no surprise that data-intensive enterprises feel a desire to lock information up. What if they didn’t have to?
Newer privacy-enhancing technologies have proven effective against data theft and similar cybercrimes. These same technologies can also prevent unintended disclosure of sensitive data by data owners and authorized third-party users. Thanks to the protections they afford, privacy-enhancing technologies allow organizations to maximize the intellectual property value of sensitive data, without sacrificing privacy or security.
Ready to learn more about the benefits of adding new privacy-enhancing technologies into your organization’s IT toolbox? Check out our thoughts below!
The Increasing and Evolving Threat of Cybercrime
Many access control measures used to prevent physical crime can also be used to prevent cybercrime. However, there are important distinctions between these two cases.
Because of the significant potential for spatial and temporal separation, cybercrime is inherently more difficult to detect than conventional crime. Cybercrime actions are also more easily obscured by tools like automation and proxy servers. Cryptocurrencies have made it easier for cybercriminals to get money out of the metaverse and into their pockets without detection by authorities.
Advancements in artificial intelligence technology are allowing cybercrime to become even more sophisticated and threatening. Cyberattacks that leverage artificial intelligence can be more potent and widespread. By enabling deepfakes and other human-impersonating technologies, it is changing the very nature of data-focused threats.
Privacy-Enhancing Technology, Cybercrime, and Society
The need to protect sensitive data from ever-evolving threats has led to the development of privacy-enhancing and security technologies. Fortunately, privacy enhancing technology falls under the umbrella of situational crime prevention (SCP). This approach to crime fighting aims to deter potential attacks or minimize harm by focusing on the conditions and circumstances that make criminal actions appealing. SCP methods are designed to obstruct, minimize, or eliminate opportunities for a specific crime to occur. These methods have been used effectively to prevent more conventional physical crimes like burglary and are increasingly being applied to cybercrime.
SCP methods are focused on three primary objectives:
- Making criminal behavior riskier
- Increasing the effort needed to engage in a crime
- Decreasing the rewards for committing a crime
When it comes to protecting sensitive data, SCP methods might focus on making target data less attractive or more difficult to access.
Newer privacy-enhancing technologies can make valuable data less attractive or more protected in several different ways. One approach, called differential privacy, adds statistical noise to a data set, making actual private data more difficult to identify. If cybercriminals are unable to tell the difference between statistical noise and valuable data, it significantly reduces the incentive for attacks. Another technology, tokenization, replaces sensitive information like social security numbers with non-sensitive tokens that have no value on their own.
Sensitive data can be further protected by security-specific measures like secure enclaves and multi-factor authentication. The resulting protective system forces criminals to take on considerable risk and effort to access data that could potentially have limited value.
If the expected return on an attack is lower than risk-adjusted investment, a would-be attacker is more likely to see criminal action as nonviable. Cybercriminals might be able to get past security measures only to access a dataset that has been transformed by differential privacy or tokenization methods. Cracking these privacy-enhancing technologies requires even more effort on the part of would-be criminals, and without knowing what is contained within a data set, determining the potential return could be quite difficult. If criminals have advanced knowledge of these privacy-enhancing technologies being used on a potential target, it can significantly reduce their reward motive. Hence, one of the most effective results of using effective privacy-enhancing technology is deterrence.
Privacy-enhancing technologies revolutionize cybersecurity without limiting access to the value of data for public or private institutions by leveraging a combination of these innovative techniques, organizations can still use their sensitive data, generate meaningful insights, and create valuable products and services –– without the fear of a cyber attack or data breach.
How TripleBlind Can Protect Private Data
The TripleBlind Solution is an innovative privacy-enhancing technology that protects sensitive data while adding true scalability. Our technology compares favorably with existing privacy-enhancing technologies like the tokenization of data and differential privacy.
The TripleBlind Solution can be used with all types of data, algorithms, and cloud platforms — unlike other privacy-enhancing technologies. This versatility allows for a wide range of use cases and data collaborations. Organizations using our technology can securely engage in data partnerships while remaining compliant with privacy regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the General Data Protection Regulation. Our solution also allows data owners to retain full digital rights management regarding how their data is used.