What actually happens to your stolen data

What actually happens to your stolen data

A study revealed that around the world, hackers attack once every 39 seconds. In 2018 alone, hackers stole over half a billion personal records — a 126% jump from figures in 2017. That’s a huge amount of data! This begs the question: what do hackers do with all this information?

To answer this question, you need to determine first why hackers hack. These are three of the most frequent reasons:

  • Disruption – Some hackers disrupt services so they can send a message and prove their skills. Instead of stealing your data, hackers who belong to this category may instead publish critical company data, such as proprietary information and client details.
  • Ideology – There are hackers who hack to expose crime, inequality, and injustice. Called “hacktivists,” these people usually target governments and organizations they deem oppressive or corrupt. Edward Snowden, who proved that the National Security Agency (NSA) is spying on millions of Americans without their consent, is one of the most well-known hacktivists.
  • Money – Some hackers hack to generate profit. A common ploy involves the use of ransomware, a type of malware that encrypts your network or components of it. Unless you pay a specified ransom, your data will be deleted or remain inaccessible. Many hackers, however, remain partial to data thievery and are the leading cause behind data breaches. Their usual targets include credit card details, private information, and emails.

What do hackers do with your data?

Once they’ve stolen your data, hackers usually have two options: use the collected information themselves or sell it to a third party, called a “broker.” Most hackers prefer the latter option, as it reduces the risk of the breach being traced back to them.

It’s the broker who sells data to interested parties. The cost of the data depends on its source and the potential profit that buyers can derive from it. Money-related details, for instance, get a good price, but information from big companies and the government can fetch exponentially higher prices.

That said, your stolen data will be processed in different ways:

#1. Payment details, financial information, and credit/debit card information

Once your details make their way to a broker, they are resold to a “carder,” a person who specializes in replicating stolen cards. Carders usually use the reprinted card to buy online gift cards for different retailers, such as Amazon, before you or your bank find out. These gift cards will then be used to buy different products. Electronics are a popular choice because they are in demand and, thus, are easy to resell with minimal risks.

#2. Personal information

These include your name, birth date, email addresses, telephone numbers, and your photos, among others. Hackers may threaten to release your private information to the public unless you pay them a certain amount. These threats are very commonly used against women and famous people, not just to extort money from them, but also to get them to act according to the hackers’ demands.

Unlike credit card details, which require complex schemes to obtain, personal details are very easy to steal, as they are almost readily available on social media. For this reason, you need to be very careful about what you post for everyone on the internet to see.

#3. Personal documents

Should hackers obtain your insurance and social security numbers, tax details, and passport information, among other personal data, it would become very easy for them to steal your identity. They can get a loan, engage in business transactions, or buy insurance, all in your name. What’s more, they may even use your identity to extort money or launch phishing attacks.

Protect your company from data theft by investing in the right cybersecurity solutions. Partner with Complete Document Solutions and we’ll keep your data secure. Contact us today to learn how!


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