How Hackers Get Your Info
You wouldn’t believe how some hackers get your info. It seems simple and easy to prevent, but hackers can get really creative with their methods.
One famous example of a $1.2 million HIPAA privacy breach involved a company throwing away an old copier without wiping the data. Everything from personal photos to medical records could be available to hackers on old hard drives or laptops.
Some security breaches go unreported for years. A website is hacked, a backdoor password is left unchanged, a printer is found in the trash. Your personal or financial info is sold on a dark web market to anyone who might be able to use it. There are sites like Craigslist for illegal activity, where lists of names, emails, credit cards, logins, and other info are traded, usually for untraceable currency like Bitcoin.
What Happens After Your Data Is Stolen
Once they steal or buy your info, hackers might use your credit card info to make online purchases or open new credit cards in your name. Scammers can set up phishing or whaling emails to try to get you to download a ransomware virus or give away more info.
For companies, buying stolen email lists to send spam to is considered a black hat marketing technique, but some people are convinced buying emails is the only way to get new email subscribers and leads.
Cyber Theft Prevention Tips
One way to protect yourself from identity theft is with multi-factor authentication. 2-factor auth programs let you set up two ways to log into a secure environment with an online password and a one-time code that’s sent to your phone, for example. MFA ensures it’s really you logging in and not someone who guessed or hacked your password.
Another way to protect yourself is knowing how to deal with suspicious emails. Step 1 is getting a good firewall and anti-spam filter.
Step 2 is deleting emails that look fishy. If you’re still not sure, copy some of the text from the email and do a google search for an exact match. These are the emails that start with “Your bill is ready”, “Do you accept credit cards?”, or “I need you to pay my consultant first.”
Chances are, you’ll find other people who got the exact same email and are wondering if it’s spam too, which means it’s definitely from a scammer.
Hackers understand the value of your personal info better than you do, but you can prevent identity theft by taking a few simple steps to protect yourself and your personal data.