Everyone is a target of personal data theft
FBI continues the investigation of huge celebrity personal info hack known as ‘The Fappening”. Very personal information, mostly photographs, were leaked to 4chan last summer. Details are emerging that a possible suspect is linked to a home in Chicago. A theory is currently asserted that several accounts were targeted over a long period of time and most probably it was a phishing email scam was employed to extract passwords and reset accounts of both celebrities and their friends.
With advances in technology, devices are increasingly susceptible to threats and subject to hacking of private and sensitive information. No one is immune to being targets of personal data theft. Celebrities and politicians frequently become targets of such malicious attacks, as hackers hope to exploit and profit from accessing sensitive private information.
This attack is far from unique. See our infographic below re: celebrity personal data hacks in recent years.
Other recent examples of personal data breaches:
- Few weeks ago, an adult dating site ‘Adult Friend Finder’ called in the police to investigate a suspected leak of client information. Reportedly, 3.9 million of their 64 million members personal data was leaked, including personal details like email addresses and sexual preferences.
- A number of highly praised startups have leaked customer information when hacked. Recently in India promising startup data leaks (Ola, Zomato and gaana.com) left over 60 million users at risk.
- With several other news about online data breaches, small and large, perhaps the biggest revelation came from the Obama administration. Earlier this month dropping a bombshell by announcing an apparent data theft of over 4 million current and former government employees. Reportedly, social security numbers were a target.
What can you do to minimise personal data breach?
Change social media settings – Make sure you change your privacy settings so that not everyone can see your posts.
Use a VPN – VPN stands for “virtual private network,” which is masks your online identity. It comes in particularly handy when using free wi-fi in coffee shops, hotels and airports, where more and more hackers are using simple “man in the middle” attacks to trick people into logging onto their fake networks.
Know the risks of using cloud services The rule of thumb is to never put something on the cloud that you wouldn’t mind being stolen.
Bypass phishing attacks Scammers often will use emails that look like legitimate companies in the hopes of tricking you into clicking on links and providing them your password, social security number and more. These are called “phishing” attacks. The best way to avoid this is to simply bypass the email and go directly to the website by opening a browser.
Beware Suspicious Emails and Attachments A lot of malware is hidden in an attachment that is downloaded by accident. Also bad links can lead to spoofed website. You should never open an email from an untrusted source and always question emails that ask for your personal info.
Don’t forget anti-malware software Almost everyone is familiar with antivirus software. Less common is “anti-malware” software. Many anti-virus software includes the ability to scan and prevent malware, but not all of them. To be safe, supplement your existing antivirus software with quality anti-malware software such as Malwarebytes. Remember to always keep your security software up to date with the latest versions.