Identity Theft is the fraudulent use of someone’s private information to open bank accounts, credit cards accounts, and other financial accounts with the intent of obtaining something to which they were not entitled. The information collected includes data such as birth date, address, driver’s license number, and credit card information. Hackers steal this information and use it to rack up thousands of dollars worth of bills in the name of the person whose identity they stole.
This happens on a large scale when it involves banks and major retailers. When it happens within a company it is referred to as a data breach because it isn’t just one person’s information that is stolen, it is the entire customer database. These breaches can happen with shopping centers, governmental agencies, and social media platforms. It has happened a few times with Facebook, alone.
Because of these data breaches, people have become more protective of their data. They are hesitant to create accounts or profiles on Internet forms because they do not know how secure the site is. That’s why it’s up to you to take certain precautions with your information.
Equifax, a data analytics and technology company, was breached in 2017. The information of 145.5 million Americans were compromised because of this. That is more than half of the population of adults in the United States.
How to Protect Your Sensitive Information in 2019
Here are a few areas where hackers can gain access to information. Be aware of the tricks they use, and how to avoid them.
Online gaming communities are blowing up everywhere. From Network to PC gaming, you come in contact with millions of users worldwide. Hackers often pose as gamers to gain access to other players’ computers and personal data. It’s not uncommon for someone to try and join a game or ask for an invite to a private game. It’s easy for a hacker to pretend to be online gamer and create a profile that seems legitimate to anyone who may become curious.
If they are able to gain access they can steal personal information including financial data. The gaming community is an online pool of sources for them.
Skimming is a technique that uses a hidden device designed to steal credit card information and passcodes when consumers swipe their cards at ATMs.
Hackers have used this at ATMs and gas pumps, and now they’re trying to go after banking networks themselves. They have even tried breaking into banks’ computer systems to steal data.
Cell Phone Attacks
Android and iPhone networks will be at risk of attack in 2019. Network providers will have to be on their toes and be diligent in providing software updates and security patches. Hackers can and do hack your cellular devices.
They could also try to attack the carrier services as well. An attack like this would be devastating and could shut down everything. Basically it would stop all communications due to a lack of wireless network.
Biometric devices are harder to breach, but not entirely impossible. Touch sensors and facial recognition software uses Biometric data. Currently it is considered one of the most secure methods of authentication available. However, it can be manipulated to alter information or network pathways.
According to another data analysis company, Experian, a cloud breach is a very real possibility. It is just a matter of when it will happen. More and more people are using cloud storage to save files and personal information. If hackers could breach a cloud they would gain access to a large source of data affecting private individuals as well as some big name companies.
Steps You Can Take to Protect Your Digital Identity
How can you protect yourself from identity theft in 2019?
Keep personal information private.
Don’t list information like credit card numbers, passwords, or Social Security numbers on any website. If you use your credit card to shop at Walmart, don’t store the account number. Fill it in every time you use it. Don’t give out information to strangers by phone, email, or text messages.
Sign up for credit monitoring alerts so that you can be notified of any suspicious activity. If someone is using your personal information to open new accounts you will be notified and asked to confirm the accounts.
If you work remotely, be cautious about using public Wi-Fi. And never access personal accounts when connected to an unsecured network.
Educate yourself about phishing scams, fraudulent emails cybercriminals send in an attempt to get you to log in to their fake website so they can collect your data. If you follow these tips you will be better prepared if a hacker tries to con you.
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