Most people believe that their personal information isn’t worth that much. After all, contact information is often handed out on business cards all the time, right? Wrong! How do cyber attackers use your personal information? In the hands of hackers, personal information is very valuable. As the saying goes, knowledge is power, and in this case, it’s this power that can make you into a victim.
The Dark Web and Cryptocurrency
When cyber attackers steal personal information from websites, they typically sell that data to other hackers using the dark web and cryptocurrency. Buyers blend information from multiple data breaches into databases that collate all the information they’ve found about you into a single dossier. This database includes things like your full name, passwords you’ve used on websites, your email addresses and phone numbers, and more personal information like account numbers and social security numbers.
Intel to Take Advantage of You
The major use of that information is to simulate authority: By using your detailed information, spear-phishers and cyber hackers are able to convince you or your known associates that they are the authority that they’re simulating. When you get an email that includes a secret password you know you’ve used, it seems legitimate and as if it’s from someone who knows you well. When attackers know your address and phone number, you may be convinced that they are actually your bank, despite the slightly funky domain name that the email came from.
The bottom line is that they are using your personal information to impersonate you or to impersonate an authority who knows you to implicitly authenticate whatever they are asking you to do. They may add your email signature to an email from you asking someone else to do something. This is an extremely common tactic that works well.
Defending Your Personal Information
The best defense against this is to recognize that knowledge of your online details doesn’t mean anything in terms of authenticating your identity. You should assume that hackers know everything there is to know about your personal information and the information of everyone you know, and never assume that knowledge of secret information in emails validates a person’s identity. If you have suspicions, call them or reach out by some other means (not reply to email, because that just goes to the hackers) and validate the request directly.
How Connetic Can Help Keep Your Personal Information Safe
At Connetic, our fixed-price, unlimited IT support services model keeps us constantly searching for ways to keep our customers safe. Safe practices reduce the amount of incident response we have to perform—which we don’t get paid extra for. That’s why we put these solutions in front of all of our clients and implement them at no additional cost. We’re the IT consultant that you can count on 24/7.
Connetic’s IT consulting services team has the unique training, knowledge, and expertise necessary to ameliorate risks by implementing comprehensive security audit practices, security framework compliance, and the comprehensive implementation of cybersecurity solutions. Contact Connetic’s IT services team to set up a security audit today or to learn more about how you can benefit from Connetic’s extensive experience and exceptionally managed IT services.