What Hackers Are Really Interested In
Your computing devices do not just store your data. Now, these devices have become the portal to your data and generate information about you.
Unless you have chosen to receive paper statements for all of your accounts, you use your computing devices to access the data. If you want a digital copy of the most recent credit card statement, you use your computing devices to access the website of the credit card issuer. If you want to pay your credit card bill online, you access the website of your bank to transfer the funds using your computing devices. Besides allowing you to access your information, the computing devices can also generate information about you.
With all this information about you available online, your personal data has become profitable to hackers.
This figure displays close-up images of businesswoman with devices in her hands.
They Want Your Money
If you have anything of value, the criminals want it.
Your online credentials are valuable. These credentials give the thieves access to your accounts. You may think the frequent flyer miles you have earned are not valuable to cybercriminals. Think again. After approximately 10,000 American Airlines and United accounts were hacked, cybercriminals booked free flights and upgrades using these stolen credentials.
Even though the frequent flyer miles were returned to the customers by the airlines, this demonstrates the value of login credentials. A criminal could also take advantage of your relationships. They could access your online accounts and your reputation to trick you into wiring money to your friends or family. The criminal can send messages stating that your family or friends need you to wire them money so they can get home from abroad after losing their wallets.
The criminals are very imaginative when they are trying to trick you into giving them money. They do not just steal your money; they could also steal your identity and ruin your life.
They Want Your Identity
Besides stealing your money for a short-term monetary gain, the criminals want long-term profits by stealing your identity.
As medical costs rise, medical identity theft is also on the rise. The identity thieves can steal your medical insurance and use your medical benefits for themselves, and these medical procedures are now in your medical records.
The annual tax filing procedures may vary from country to country; however, cybercriminals see this time as an opportunity. For example, the people of the United States need to file their taxes by April 15 of each year. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not check the tax return against the information from the employer until July.
An identity thief can file a fake tax return and collect the refund. The legitimate filers will notice when their returns are rejected by IRS. With the stolen identity, they can also open credit card accounts and run up debts in your name. This will cause damage to your credit rating and make it more difficult for you to obtain loans.
Personal credentials can also lead to corporate data and government data access.
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