I GOT an email from MyFitnessPal telling me that they had been hacked and it had affected 150 million people. Firstly, let me tell you what this phone app does. It measures how far you walk, what calories you eat, carbs, fat, salt, etc, are all measured and then it tells you how your weight and healthy eating regime is doing.
My initial reaction was why anyone would be interested if I’d had a crafty Mars bar or hadn’t walked as far as I should. But then I read more and began to get a little grumpy.
I was told that I had to change my password and also change the password on any other sites where I might use the same one. So that got me thinking. Why do they need so much information? Why does a site that measures how much weight you are losing have to be passworded in the first place? Then I realised that on all these sites we are not the customer we are the product! Our data is worth fortunes and these companies use us as a currency.
I checked online and was shocked that this hacking was actually very serious as the data includes peoples’ whereabouts, your exact location, and this could include military personnel on secret military bases for example. At least this company reacted quickly – not like Uber (that I also have an account with) – who hid it from their punters by paying off the hackers! All your privacy settings go out the window when you are hacked. It’s now a case of not what happens if you are hacked; it’s what happens when you are hacked.
Our phones, and the apps on them, are gathering millions of data points about our lives on a daily basis. So what you eat and how many steps you take might not seem valuable to a hacker but where you work out and how long you are away from home and your exact location may well be.
I will now be going through all my apps on my phone and getting rid of the ones I do not use and which ask for too much information for, what I consider to be, no reason. I think the first I am going to get rid of is Facebook after what I have read in the last few days. In my opinion what they have done is verging on criminality.
But it’s our own fault for mostly believing everything we read. As clever as we think we are these companies are cleverer with their data gathering. Big Brother is definitely watching us and so are his little sister, his mum and dad, and even the little innocent looking Granny too!