Kevin Roose did this piece for Fusion, in which he went to a hacking convention and was shocked at how much of your personal information elite hackers can acquire with very little effort. You’ll shake your head in disbelief at the “vishing” call a couple of minutes into this.
Unfortunately, Roose doesn’t offer good solutions (other than using common sense and not clicking on every link we receive via email) for what we should all do to protect ourselves from these attacks. Even though it’s unlikely you’re going to be targeted personally, I can tell you that, as a victim of identity theft, when it does happen to you, it’s not pretty. That’s why I’m so invested in the recent encryption debate between the government and Apple. I come down squarely on Apple’s side.
The more disturbing aspect of this is the need to protect the infrastructure — utilities, banking, transportation, etc. — that is so vulnerable, and a more likely target because the impact of a hack into any of those systems would affect tens of millions of us.