When we use the Internet, we leave behind data and digital traces. They include social media activities, web browsing, health information, map and mobile device usage data, photos, audio and video. This data is collected, stored, and analyzed by a variety of organizations, from large social media companies to app vendors to data brokers. However, it is good to know that our digital footprint can put our privacy and cyber security at risk.
Hackers can also infer our passwords using personal information collected online, and they can improve phishing attacks if they know our circle of friends and co-workers—and can even trick information from us by hiding in their skin. Scammers obtain information from our digital footprint using freely available, open-source data collection tools. They have easy access to their network of contacts, professional activities, hobbies and interests, and from this data they can easily create seemingly real phishing messages, either to us or to our friends.
One of the most successful forms of phishing attacks is one that hides in work emails, conversation. Hackers impersonate people with legitimate business relationships, even colleagues or clients, to initiate financial transactions.
Like the 2015 attack on Ubiquity Networks Inc. The hacker sent emails to employees on behalf of senior executives asking them to make electronic transfers – he managed to extort $46.7 million from gullible workers.
110 million credit card details in one minute
Enhanced phishing reaches the network and system of the employer and customers through the victim’s computer. In 2014, a cyber attack was launched on the Target chain in America, in which one of the employees’ computers was used to gain access to Target’s internal system and then their payment network. The company informed 110 million credit/debit card customers who shopped at one of the company’s stores during the attack that their personal and financial information had been compromised. Hackers stole 11 GB of data.
The computer security company estimates that 91 percent of unnoticed attacks on networks start with phishing messages. 25 percent of all privacy incidents can be traced back to phishing.
So it’s worth learning the lesson: We pay close attention to our digital footprint, know the rules for safe internet browsing, and use social media with due diligence. And some skepticism doesn’t hurt either, especially if someone searches our data via email.
Thomas Truchill/Phototech/Getty Images)
“Friendly thinker. Wannabe social media geek. Extreme student. Total troublemaker. Web evangelist. Tv advocate.”