Could Devaluing SSNs Stymie Security Breaches?

Could Devaluing SSNs Stymie Security Breaches? Photo (cc) by DonkeyHotey

It seems like data breaches and cyberattacks are an all-too-common occurrence, and their impacts can be catastrophic for Americans whose personal information is stolen. But what if we eliminated the value of the Social Security number, effectively removing the top prize for hackers?

It’s a question posed by Lawrence Walsh, CEO and chief analyst of The 2112 Group, a research and business strategy firm, in SC Magazine.

Walsh said regardless of tighter regulations, improved technology and new data protection software, security breaches will continue to happen. His unorthodox solution is to devalue the information targeted by hackers.

“Let’s start with Social Security numbers, which are the holy grail of these attacks since they are the keys to unlocking all kinds of other digital treasures,” Walsh said.

As the universal identifier in the United States, there are more than 450 million nine-digit SSNs in circulation. Originally designed for income tracking, SSNs have become a national identification number for taxes. You now need a SSN to apply for a job, open a bank account, apply for a credit card and lots of other financial transactions.

“And while there are few legal requirements to surrender your SSN to any private company, it’s nearly impossible to… conduct a financial transaction without it,” Walsh explained.

Walsh is not alone in calling for a devaluation of the SSN.

Popular Articles

These 6 Lifestyle Changes Might Help Prevent Dementia
These 6 Lifestyle Changes Might Help Prevent Dementia

Science says these practices can lower the risk of cognitive decline as we age.

10 Food Staples That Are Easy and Cheap to Make Yourself
10 Food Staples That Are Easy and Cheap to Make Yourself

Making any of these key foods yourself will improve your meals and your budget — not to mention your health, in some cases.

12 ‘Disposable’ Items You Should Reuse Rather Than Throw Away
12 ‘Disposable’ Items You Should Reuse Rather Than Throw Away

Are you throwing away money? Before tossing these items that are considered disposable, consider how to give them new purpose.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Comments