Why do hackers want to steal your information and identity?
To be frank, because they’re worth so much money.
The value of your information has never been higher. And, unfortunately, even if you zealously protect your information, it’s too late. Your information is everywhere. Everyone already has it.
Your dentist’s office. Your employer. Your affiliates. Your vendors. Your insurance company. Even your Cable and cellphone company. The worst part, is that these companies are targeted in a seemingly nonstop barrage of hacks and social engineering attacks in an effort to steal your precious data.
Social engineering attacks become a breeze if a hacker or black hat has adequate information on you. Suddenly, you’re much easier to trick, swindle, and bamboozle into clicking almost any link, or otherwise revealing more information about yourself, your organization, loved ones, or any number of things.
The Value of Stolen Databases & Lists For Identity Thieves
Your identity, is quite frankly, priceless.
Social engineers and hackers make a living by exploiting your information.
If they know your name, address, date of birth, and social security number, you’re constantly at a state of risk of being targeted for future attacks. Permanently.
That’s why it’s so important to limit the information you give third party companies. Whenever a company asks for your social security number, ask yourself, “do they really need to know?”.
Also remember, that a social security number never changes. Once a hacker or social engineer has that information, that’s it; you’re permanently at risk into perpetuity.
They can take health insurance under your name, file an income tax claim under your name, buy a house with your name, register a cellphone using your name, or a variety of other pesky attacks that’s going to cause you to lose MASSIVE quantities of hair, and there’s very little you can do to prevent these attacks once your identity is initially stolen.
The hacker can even leverage any stolen information to learn more about you, to trick or coerce you into revealing more information about your accounts, or even trick a family member, coworker or someone in your life to reveal sensitive information, thereby using your identity to escalate access to even more information.
The Value of Stolen Databases & Lists For Spammers
It’s important to revisit the premise that there’s significant money in hacking, spamming and especially stolen identities. Underground markets exist where people can buy stolen credit cards for cheap. Large databases of customer information is also very valuable for spammers. Spam can be and is often implemented in order to spread malware (botnets) and information, but it’s also used to promote products, services, and to generate revenue. A hacker or scammer might buy a large customer database that has been stolen from a company, and then spam offers to the list.
You realize that information breaches are happening all the time. No company is impervious, even the United States Government. This information is worth a fortune on the Internet black market to spammers, hucksters, and other shady black hats. When a spammer obtains a list of dedicated information (a large company database with e-mails and names is a PRIMARY target) they have an excellent group to target their unsolicited bulk e-mail advertisements to, or otherwise an excellent source to conduct spear phishing attacks on an organization so that they have a long lasting source of leverage over an organization upon which to launch social engineering attacks.
Do Spammers Love Stolen Databases? Bet Your Boots.
Make no mistake about it. A list stolen from a large organization, business, or any targeted group is far superior to a list of leads generated by a marketing agency. That’s why they’re such valuable targets to spammers, hackers, and black hats.
The best list for a spammer is a list that contains *real* users who all have something in common. Additionally, any supplementary intelligence the spammer has about their lists can augment their ability to efficiently promote products or services, or target them in other scams.
That’s why customer information is so valuable. It’s 100% real and targeted data that hackers can exploit. They can sell a customer database outright, or otherwise use the data to spam themselves.
The unfathomably tremendous value of stolen databases with names and e-mails is overlooked. In instances of database theft, the spammer obtains a fresh source of targets for which to promote their services, and the spammer has information about their new “clients” to better ascertain what products or services they may be inclined to purchase. For example, if a spammer hacked (stole) a customer database from a clothing store, they could promote different types of apparel. If a hacker stole a database from a dentist or hospital, they could try to promote health products.
There is a very hungry demographic in the “blackhat” community that purchases stolen customer information, tries to outsource the theft of information, or otherwise engages on their own to steal information. If you’ve studied economics you can understand how the hungry demographic attracts those capable of accomplishing the illegal tasks.
And that is why your information is constantly in a state of strife.
If You’re As Paranoid About Your Identity As I Am…
Then you should definitely keep a close eye on your credit report to ensure no hackers are taking you through the mill.
Make no mistake – your information is EVERYWHERE, and businesses are getting hacked and exploited every single day, often times, they’re unaware or otherwise not privy to sharing that information.
That’s why it might be a genius idea to monitor your identity on a constant basis.
Thanks for reading, and have a great day.