Do you use the same password on all websites? Do you use the same pin on all your financial accounts? Do you also share all your personal information on facebook and twitter? Then you are an excellent target for cybercriminals. Data theft is on the rise in India and has caused the UK a financial loss of £27 billion. There is an increase in data breach – from scammers trying to extract passwords through emails to highly organized criminals targeting government agencies and businesses.
These people are trying hard to steal information related to critical infrastructure. They take advantage of the sharing culture of facebook and twitter for data breaches. They also use Malware software at their disposal to target individuals and organizations. They can send phishing emails that reflect our interest and claim it is from friends, or from trusted organizations such as the HM revenue &Customs to encourage us to click on the link.
These people send Trojans (pieces of malware) especially Spyeye, Citadel, and Zeus, to people’s computer. They send malware software to monitor everything you do on your computer; which implies that they avert every transaction you perform on your computer through a hacking site. You are going through a man in the middle. The criminals wait for you to use the credentials they have gathered.
Stories of identity theft on the internet
There are many stories on the internet on stolen identities. One famous story is the story of Tekeisha, who was a victim of PayPal scam. She claimed that someone sent her mail to enter all her PayPal details. She did not pay much attention to the email until she received a phone call from a man saying, “Someone has stolen your identity.” At that time it was too late because the scammer already had access to her PayPal details.
She had to inform the Social security office, her bank and the credit companies. Surprisingly, someone had used her SSN twice to obtain a mortgage and a car loan. She was advised to sign up for an identity theft protection to eradicate any future false transaction under her name.
Tekeisha was lucky because the criminals obtained access to her PayPal account when her PayPal balance was $8.20. What happens when identity criminal’s orders a credit card in your name? Someone ordered a credit card in Ana’s name.
Here is the detailed story:
One Friday afternoon after I returned from work, I received a call from my credit card company. Some had told me to enter my credit card details, the previous day. I called the company fraud department. They informed me that someone had tried to obtain a credit card using my name, SSN, and address. I was shocked at the information; I thought someone had stolen my credit card to use and purchase some items.
The worst aspect of the story was that my credit card company had sent the credit card to the criminal. I hung up in confusion. A lunatic has all my info. Do I check my credit card report?, Do I call the police?.
I cannot even disclose what life felt at that moment – It was as if someone had taken over my life. Someone went in overrode my information and encompassed her information on my credit report. I established my credit responsibility at a young age so that I can shop for big items like a home or vehicle.
Over the next Six months, I had to fill out many affidavits and turn in my data to remove the fraudulent charges. I found that I was a victim early on – after the individual had been using my information for six months.
I had an FTC affidavit and a police report. The police department even visited my house, the night I was a victim. I was lucky to receive that type of attention. However, the affidavit and police report are not even good enough
Zomato data breach
Zomato data breach makes up another favorite example. Zomato is a favorite restaurant app with more than 17 million users. The users experienced a data breach whereby their Ids, email address, passwords, and Usernames were comprised. The firm was lucky because they had a one-way hashing algorithm. All passwords were reset, and users were forced to log in to the platform.
- These scammers are resilient and can hack into any platform despite the security, if they can hack into PayPal with their tight security system, they can hack into any platform.
- Therefore, the golden rules are
- Never click on a link you did not expect to receive no matter how well structured the link appears
- Use different passwords on different sites and avoid using names of pets or birthdays as passwords.
- Never reuse your email password
- Install an antivirus on your computer to block malicious sites and pop-ups
- Think before you share personal information on Facebook.
- Only shop on secure sites
- Use more than one email address
- Don’t store your credit card detail on any site
- Enable two-step password verification
- Keep your phone and tablet locked always
Technical mediums can provide temporary relief from scammers and hackers. However, remember that hacking is the skill of tricking humans – not computers – by preying on their greed and taking advantage of their trust. The advice is always to check your bank statements and keep an eye on your transactions across all platforms.
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