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Hackernoon logoWhat Hackers Do With Your Data by@jia-yung

What Hackers Do With Your Data

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@jia-yungJia Yung

Tech Content Marketer

4 ways your data is being used without your knowledge

There’s nothing pleasant about encountering a data breach or being hacked. In recent years, the number of hacks has grown at an exponential rate with a hacker attack happening every 39 seconds. In 2018 alone, hackers were able to steal half a billion personal records. 

Furthermore, the amount of data is expected to hit 40 trillion gigabytes this year. With such massive amounts of data, more personal data is expected to be stolen and used. 

With this information, there’s plenty that hackers do to profit, such as identity theft, personal theft and more. In fact, what hackers can do with your compromised data is even scarier than the hack itself. 

By learning more about what hackers do with your information, you’ll have a better understanding of their goals and why you should always take data protection seriously. 

Sell Your Data To Third Party Brokers 

Once a hacker has retrieved your data, they’ll usually start off by scanning your data for any important or valuable information that they would be able to use. This information usually consists of passwords, bank details, emails and more. 

After sifting through all the information, they will decide to either keep the files or sell them to a third-party broker. Usually, hackers will sell your data for profit to mitigate the risk of holding onto your data. The amount that they’ll receive depends on how valuable the information is and who it belongs to. 

Once your data is sold to a third-party broker, they’ll take a look at the information and decide what to do with it. If it’s credit card details, for example, they’ll probably resell it to a “carder” who will try to steal as much money out of your accounts as possible. 

To better cover their tracks, most hackers engage in transactions in the darknet.

The Darknet 

More widely known as the dark web, the darknet refers to a deeper part of the web that’s not accessible via your traditional search engine. It’s also often used for illegal activities such as the black market, illegal exchange of goods, drug-dealers, hackers and more. 

Most hackers tend to thrive on the darknet as stolen financial and private data are widely sought after there. There’s also a great deal of anonymity as bitcoin is often used as the currency of exchange in the darknet. 

What exactly do hackers do with your information on the darknet? They sell it for a good amount of profit. Medical records, for example, come with hefty price tags and full medical records can cost as much as $100. 

Buyers of these medical records usually use this information for fake IDs to purchase drugs, medical equipment and more. This leads us to the next point of identity theft

Identity Hacking 

Identity theft has been on the rise in the United States and refers to the unauthorized use of an individual’s personal information to either commit criminal or fraudulent acts. Identity-related information is usually targeted by hackers and can range from social security numbers to driver’s license numbers and more. 

While identity theft can happen in the digital world, your identity is vulnerable to hacks if you receive physical bills in your mailbox. It’s incredibly easy for hackers to rummage through your mailbox and steal your bills for identity hacking. 

Hence, it’s best to protect yourself by opting for electronic bills instead. Some of the common types of identity theft include credit card fraud, bank fraud, employment or tax-related fraud and more. 

Sell Your Data To competitors 

There’s a possibility that hackers don’t necessarily want your information for personal gains. Instead, they might be selling this information to your competitors instead. With improved security systems, attackers are on the lookout for alternative easier routes that will get them into corporate networks and data. 

Talk about entering from the back door. Such sensitive information proves extremely valuable to competitors as it gives them an easy way in. 

Even though it isn’t an ethical practice, there are plenty of people who are willing to profit from selling something that doesn’t belong to them. After all, information like this can be worth millions of dollars. 

Final remarks 

Now that you’ve got a better idea of what hackers can do with your information, it’s evident that protecting your data is key. Compromised data is both scary and dangerous and you’ll want to stay safe and protect yourself from both a business and personal perspective. 

To protect yourself, it’s best to read up on tips, tools, and tactics that’ll help mitigate a breach or prevent you from being hacked. Companies that hold customer data should hire external agencies to conduct regular security audits.

As shared with you previously, besides your credit card details, a wide range of your personal data can be monetized, such as your driver’s license and even billing details. As the world becomes more digitized, security cannot be a mere afterthought in your day to day activities online.

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