Brent Scowcroft Center Associate Director Klara Tothova Jordan cowrites for The Hill with Chief of Innovation for Thomson Reuters Special Services Jason Thomas on how recent data breaches reveal a new trend in cyberattacks being used as a foreign policy tool designed to inflict harm:

There is a new movement, a change in the nature of data breaches currently affecting many Americans. Not in frequency, or in identities stolen, or in money lost, but in kind and effect. Content pilfered in a typical data breach includes credit card numbers, social security numbers, and various other pieces of identity information. In the Sony, OPM, and the Ashley Madison hacks, we’ve experienced a shift in purpose. None of those breaches are driven by purely financial motivation. They signify a new foreign policy tool designed to inflict harm and represent the uncharted cyber territories.  

Data has been called the human algorithm. It is used to establish individual’s identity, patterns, associations, and connections. Data has great value for law enforcement, industry, advertising, science, and other fields, but its value to the individual is even greater – it is the most personalized and intimate outcome of one’s interaction with technology.  

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