Why Do Hackers Want Your Personal Information?
We often hear about data breaches, but what we don’t hear is what is done with the stolen personal information. Read on to find out.
Billions of records of personal information are stolen every year in data breaches. But what do criminals actually do with all the stolen data? The truth is, data breaches are profitable business for criminals. Here are 5 reasons why.
1. Hackers can sell your data to other criminals
One way hackers profit from stolen data is selling it in masses to other criminals on the dark web. These collections can include millions of records of stolen data. The buyers can then use this data for their own criminal purposes.
2. Stolen personal information is fuel for identity theft
Identity theft is a crime in which the victim’s personal information is used to gain benefits at the victim’s expense. Many online services require users to fill in personal details such as full name, home address and credit card number. Criminals steal this data from online accounts to commit identity theft, such as using the victim’s credit card or taking loans in their name.
3. Login details are needed for account takeover
Criminals use stolen login credentials to break into accounts with payment details, such as shopping accounts. This is called account takeover, and it often leads to identity theft. If the hacker changes your password, you will also lose access to your account. Account takeover can be costly if the hijacked account includes payment details.
4. Stolen data is used to target phishing attacks and extortion
With stolen personal information criminals can target victims with phishing attacks. In phishing scams victims are lured into giving information like credit card details willingly to criminals by masking the scam as something legit. If criminals get access to very sensitive information, they can also extort the victim.
5. Stolen personal information can be used to harm companies
In addition to the personal problems stolen data can cause, it can also damage companies. With stolen data criminals can target company personnel to give sensitive information or to trick them to make payments. Such phishing attacks targeted against a specific individual are called spear-phishing. Criminals can also try to gain access to company networks to spy on them and infect them with malware.
Content provided by F-Secure