Recently, there’s been a huge increase in cyber attacks and data leaks. You may be thinking that hackers only target specific people who have “valuable” information and that you’re safe because you’re just an “average person”. That would be nice, but it’s not true.
Hackers can target literally anybody, and if you think your data wouldn’t be of much use, think again. Hackers can use your data in so many different ways, and nobody is ever completely safe. Here’s how hackers steal your personal information and why they do it.
How do hackers steal people’s information?
There are many ways through which hackers can steal your personal information. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Through social engineering. Social engineering is when hackers try to scam people by playing with their emotions and trust. For example, scammers can target people’s sense of fear by calling them and telling them that their information has been stolen and that they need to verify their identity by providing their name and social security number. (Most people know that government agencies never ask people for their social security numbers through a phone call). Sure, this type of scam is pretty obvious, but criminals can be much more subtle and believable than that, so you need to be careful.
- By guessing their passwords. Weak passwords are so widespread that hackers love to test their luck at guessing people’s passwords. Short and easy passwords like “Pineapple123” may be convenient because of how easy they are to remember, but they are painfully easy to guess. Enhance the safety of your online accounts by using a special password manager.
- Through software vulnerabilities. Are you the type of person who keeps postponing software updates? You may think you don’t need them because you’re happy with the performance of your device as it is. Well, there’s a bit more to software updates than meets the eye. Old software tends to have many security vulnerabilities that hackers exploit to steal people’s personal information. So perhaps now would be a good time to go through your apps and devices and update everything.
Why do hackers steal personal information?
1. To steal your identity
We all know how important it is to protect our social security numbers from outsiders. With access to your full name and social security number, criminals can take out huge loans in your name. Because of how easy it can be to get a loan or credit card, pretty much anybody’s social security number can be used to do so, which is why hackers don’t care much about the financial state of their victims.
2. To sell it on the dark web
A simple way to monetize stolen data is by selling it on the dark web. A single person’s data can cost up to a few thousand dollars depending on the extent of the data that is being listed. Imagine how much money hackers can make if they steal the data of thousands of random people? The answer is a lot, and there’s no doubt that hackers would love to list your data on the dark web as well.
3. To scam your friends
Some hackers may use the login information to your email or social media to try and scam your friends. Think about it: if a friend of yours sent you a link through Facebook and asked you to open it, would you think it was a hacker? Cybercriminals understand that their chances of success are much higher if they use a reliable source to send their scams through, which is why they like to use hacked accounts to spread their scams.
So now you know that hackers are definitely interested in your information, and they have many ways of obtaining it. If you want to keep your information off of hackers’ lists, you’ll need to be a bit more careful. First of all, this means looking out for social engineering scams and always thinking before telling anyone your personal information. Next, start using stronger passwords and update your software. Never forget that you and your loved ones can be targeted at any moment, so you must always stay vigilant!