A disturbing trend has emerged in the ever-evolving cybercrime landscape that targets individuals' identification photos used for account verification. Cybercriminals are now distributing these photos on the dark web, where a person is holding their ID document. In this blog post, we’ll quickly explore the details and what individuals need to do to help protect themselves.
In our increasingly digital world, identity verification has become common across various platforms and services. Many registration processes, particularly for applications and software relating to finances, require users to submit photos of themselves holding their ID documents to ensure authenticity. Unfortunately, cybercriminals have seized this opportunity and have begun compromising and trading these images.
Here are some screenshots of this data being circulated via the Dark Web:
The theft and sale of identification photos pose significant risks to individuals. With these photos, cybercriminals can carry out various malicious activities. Here are just some examples:
- Account Takeovers: By using stolen identification photos, cybercriminals can bypass identity verification measures and gain unauthorised access to individuals' accounts. This can lead to unauthorised transactions, data breaches, and privacy violations.
- Identity Fraud: Stolen identification photos, when combined with other personal details obtained through data breaches or social engineering, enable cybercriminals to create synthetic identities. These can be used for fraudulent activities, such as opening bank accounts, applying for loans, or committing other forms of financial fraud.
- Financial Scams: Compromising this type of information also enables hackers to fraudulent financial transactions. Once hackers are able to gain access to a victim’s accounts, they are also able to set up and manage activities within a bank account, such as transfers and purchases. The victim’s details can be used to bypass verification steps put in place, to authorise transactions to new accounts. Cybercriminals can also use these images to create deep fakes, enabling them to carry out transactions whilst posing as another individual.
Mitigating the Risks and Protecting Yourself:
Here are a few simple steps that can help you protect yourself and your accounts from hackers:
- Be Selective: Before sharing any personal information or verification imagery, it is essential to ensure that it is necessary. You should also conduct proper research to verify the legitimacy of the request for photo verification. Avoid hasty sharing of sensitive data.
- Enable Multi-Factor Authentication: To safeguard yourself against fraudulent attacks, enabling multi-factor authentication on all your applications is important, if available. This additional layer of security will fortify your accounts and alert you if someone attempts unauthorised access.
- Use a Risk Management Tool: Protecting yourself from cybercrime can be made easier using a risk management tool like Cyber Xpert. This tool proactively reduces your cyber risk through alerts, passive monitoring, and education. It simplifies your personal cybersecurity by notifying you of potential vulnerabilities and providing guidance on how to address them.
- Regular Account Monitoring: Consistently monitor financial accounts, applications, social media and other personal accounts for any signs of unauthorised activity. Promptly report any suspicious incidents to relevant authorities and institutions.
- Use Strong Passwords: It is crucial to create complex and hard-to-guess passwords as they serve as the first line of defence against cybercriminals. Additionally, it is advisable to update passwords periodically and use a password manager to store them securely.
- Use Anti-virus and Anti-malware Software: Many users with compromised data are targets of malware attacks. It’s important to ensure you have good antivirus and antimalware software installed and updated regularly.
- Take Time To Analyse Emails & Texts You Receive: Be careful when interacting with emails or texts you receive, particularly if they are from banks, online accounts, or other applications. Remember that banks will never request your personal information through a phone call, text, or email. They will not move or transfer funds or make payments on your behalf. If you ever receive such messages, get in touch with your bank or application's official customer service team or visit them in person.
Hackers constantly find new techniques to exploit in our constantly evolving digital world. Cybersecurity can often be difficult to stay on top of, so it’s best to let Cyber Xpert do all of the hard work for you.
Cyber Xpert provides you with a personalised Cyber Security score that updates in real-time, enabling you to understand your cyber risk clearly. You’ll also be given a simple action plan to help you remediate any issues.
Additionally, Cyber Xpert can track your credit cards, emails and phone numbers to alert you if any of your data records are being distributed on the dark web. This way, you can take action to protect yourself and your family.
For more information about Cyber Xpert, please click here.