It is hard to protect against attackers if you are not sure what motivates hackers to steal your data. Below are common motives for hackers stealing your data:
- Data ransom – hackers sometimes want to steal your data to hold it for ransom, called a ransomware attack. Ransomware attacks are one of the quickest growing types of cyberattacks. Hackers execute ransomware attacks by gaining unauthorized access to data, then encrypting it or moving it and charging a ransom to restore your access to it.
- Identify Theft – data breaches are designed to steal personal information. Attackers then can exploit information to break into other accounts and attempt to steal identities. The best way to defend against this danger is by avoiding using the same password for multiple accounts and track passwords with a windows password manager. Suppose you are a company or organization responsible for overseeing data that could be used for identity theft. In that case, you can mitigate the risk of identity theft by resisting the temptation to collect unnecessary personal information.
What do Hackers do with Your Data?
Understanding a hacker’s routine post-hack is useful for minimizing the damage if data is stolen. Once a hacker has attacked and obtained your data, they are most likely to do the following:
- Inventory Stolen Data – hackers, will look through the stolen data files for authentication credentials, personal information, such as addresses, phone numbers, names, and financial information, including credit card details.
- Sell Personal Information – Hackers will package up personal information, including addresses, names, phone numbers, email addresses, and sell them quickly, typically in bulk. The most recent data is more valuable.
- Look for Good Stuff – Hackers will inventory authentication credentials furth to look for potentially lucrative accounts. Valuable addresses for hackers include government, military, and large corporation’s company emails and passwords. Since people often reuse passwords, hackers often use credentials for military or corporate accounts to target other companies.
- Offload Cards – financial information, such as credit card numbers, are packaged and sold in bundles. Individuals with the right knowledge can easily buy credit card data in groups of ten or a hundred. A “broker” buys the card data, then sells it to a “carder” who goes through a rationale game of purchases to avoid being detected. “Carders” use stolen credit cards to purchase gift cards to stores or Amazon.com, then use those cards to buy physical items. They then will sell products on channels, such as eBay, through a dark underground website.
- Sell in Bulk – several months after data has been stolen, hackers will package up authentication identifications and sell them in bulk at a discounted price. By this time, credentials are not worth much because companies most likely had discovered the breach and taken steps to repair their data.
When the dark web is mentioned, it means a set of encoded networks that have been intentionally concealed from view and require special software to access. When people discuss the “dark web,” they mean content hosted on the Tor network, a system of relays that obscures IP addresses. Tor, or similar sites, prevent somebody from watching your internet connection from learning what sites you visit and keep websites from determining your physical location. Due to its anonymity, the dark web is host to many illegal sites, and selling stolen data typically happens on the dark web.
Knowing what hackers do with your data once stolen helps make sure you are properly securing your information. To do this, use different passwords for each of your online accounts. This ensures that if one account has compromised, the rest will still be safe. If you think that your private data has been stolen, act quickly. If you have an account with a company that reports a breach, change your passwords immediately. It is hard to always prevent your data from being stolen, but you can minimize the damage by reacting quickly.