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How Data Breaches Affect You & What To Do About It

Millions of people are at risk of cyber crime and don’t take steps to protect themselves because they don’t know how.

Millions of people are at risk of cyber crime and don’t take steps to protect themselves because they don’t know how.

I don’t know about you but I’m registered on so many websites I’ve lost count! In business, you may use:

  • Webmail (Gmail, Hotmail)
  • Cloud backup / transfer services (Box, We Transfer)
  • Accounting packages (Xero, Kashflow)
  • Health & benefit systems
  • Online banking and more.

In the personal world you may use a number of different services:

  • Webmail (Gmail or your broadband provider),
  • Cloud backup / transfer services (DropBox, iCloud)
  • Online Retail (Amazon, Netflix)
  • Educational Platforms (University, Edmodo)
  • Government Portals (Driving license, voter registration)

As the saying goes, you are only as strong as the weakest link. While your bank might have great security, the bulletin board for your university or your online account with the local newspaper probably won’t.

When you read about the latest breach in the news, you might think, what does this mean to me? Read on and we’ll tell you about how criminals use this information and how 5 different types of people are affected.

Hacker Techniques

They will first attempt to login directly into your accounts, hoping you re-used the password from the website they hacked on others.

If this doesn’t work, they can attempt to send you scam emails to try and trick you into handing over your username and password for other sensitive websites.

If they have been able to gain access to your email account through a re-used password, they can pretend to be you.

Free Scan: Head to our main website and get a free scan to see if you could be vulnerable to hacking.

Average Internet User

For the average person who banks and shops online, you will be at risk of fraud by impersonation. Just a few weeks ago, The Telegraph reported the story of Kristy Jasper, 28, who had almost £4,000 stolen.

Hackers will attempt to make use of the information they have stolen on you and try to log into your bank, email account, social media accounts or other websites as you.

They can ask friends, family, your lawyer or others to transfer funds from your bank account to an account they control.

Your accounts could also be used as a conduit to attack or defraud other targets.

Owner or Staff of a Small Business

Small businesses are at significant risk of fraud, disruption to their business and loss of information. The issues are the same as those that face the average person, however the stakes are much higher. On the other side of the Atlantic, CNBC reports 14 million small businesses were hacked in the last 12 months.

While banks and credit card companies have more protections in place to cover consumers, small businesses need to comply with stricter terms and conditions for the repayment of fraud losses.

By taking over an employee’s email account at a small business, the hacker could transfer out tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds. In the event the business has sensitive intellectual property, this could easily be stolen as well.

High Net Worth Individuals

For people with significant amounts of money, the risks are even greater. Earlier in 2017 Beckileaks was in full swing. While not all of us are popular enough to have our own wikileak reference, high net worth individuals are regularly targeted.

Imagine that they could pose as the individual and send their private banker an email requesting the transfer of £200,000 or contact their stock broker and sell some of their holdings and transfer out the money.

In the event the person has sensitive personal, business or political relationships, these could be exposed or monitored over time causing embarrassment, loss of reputation and more.

The hacker could even hold their sensitive personal information to ransom or commit extortion.

Parents with Young Children

Remember that the risks adults face, children do too. After all, 77 million user accounts were exposed when the educational website Edmodo was hacked.

While children won’t generally be targeted for fraud (since they don’t have a lot of money to steal!) their information can fall into the hands of others.

While the threat of stalkers and predators is real, the more likely threat comes from class mates that could obtain a copy of the stolen information and use it to bully or impersonate the child.

For children of high net worth individuals, it may be their information that gets used against the parent to commit extortion.

Older Adults

Many older people don’t use a lot of online services because they are not comfortable with technology. On the one hand this can reduce the chances of them getting hacked, but on the other it also excludes them from great time saving and less costly digital services.

Some data breaches like the one that affected 191 million US voters contain personal information including birthdates, addresses and more.

This level of stolen information can be used to cold call elderly people and trick them into revealing information to criminals that can result in fraud.

What Should I Do to Protect Myself or Others?

While there is no shortage of bad things that could happen to someone it’s pretty easy to reduce someone’s risk of being hacked because of information stolen in a data breach.

Besides being vigilant of scam emails and callers, just don’t re-use the same password on multiple websites. This is easier said than done of course but to help with this tedious task, use a password manager which will help you keep track of all your passwords.

When DynaRisk calculates your Personal Cyber Score, we check if your information has been exposed online which is one of the many factors we use to calculate your score. We also tell you how to install password managers and more so you don’t need to worry about your security.