According to Cifas, identity theft in the UK is reaching epidemic levels, with over 89,000 cases within the first half of 2017. This illegal activity has occurred almost exclusively online.
Identity theft has come along way from the days of fraudsters going through your bins to find bank documents. In fact, looking at wisebread’s list of identity theft methods, there are many ways these smart criminals can become you. However, it is more common these days that your identity gets stolen by a hacker lurking on the web. The old method of dumpster diving to find your credit card number still exists. But now it is easier for fraudsters to attack you over the web.
This threat is already causing great concern for companies that store vast amounts of sensitive data belonging to their customers, but it can also affect personal users. If you have sensitive personal information on your home devices and you get hacked, banks are obliged to refund lost assets, but only if you can strongly prove fraud occurred – if it happens again, they will more than likely refuse your claim under personal negligence. Take a look at BBC Watchdog’s nightmare cases.
Most breaches of your data will occur after you download malicious software. This malicious software can be downloaded onto your computer after posing on the web or in emails as a service you regularly use. After the specific software gets downloaded onto your computer, you give attackers access to view all your files and movements. A hacker can then surf your computer without detection. We store personal information on our devices that we rarely open ourselves. Encrypting this data is an efficient way of protecting yourself, as it gives you time to detect a breach. Throughout the period in which they remain undetected, it is unlikely that you will open that encrypted file.
What are fraudsters looking for? The attacker will be looking for various items that will aid them in stealing your identity, here are just a few:
- Bank statements
- Credit card numbers
- Social security numbers
These personal statements about yourself can give them access to buy things online and even apply for your tax return. The hacker will work as an opportunist, looking for files they can use to manipulate and threaten you for a payout.
Any information about yourself can be used against you. The more information hackers discover about you, the more convincing they can sound online if they decided to make fake social media accounts in your name, which they will use to socially engineer your friends and family. They can use this method to withdraw other information about yourself. They could message your parents saying you forgot your internet banking number and could they order you a new one to be sent to a particular address. Most people would not fall victim to these attacks, as they are aware of these methods and they immediately look suspicious. But as we become more aware of the threats on the web, the means of the online criminal grow smarter.
There are solutions to protect against identity theft. Firstly, you should go through your data and decide what’s essential to protect and what the attacker can use against you. Once sensitive data has been identified, you can encrypt the data and back it up in the cloud. Once this has been done, you make it difficult if not impossible for the hacker to use your files to harm you.
It’s important to remember that the best way to protect against identity theft and data breaches is to act first.
Yrjö and the Filebolt team
Defend against identity theft with file encryption now!
P.S. Filebolt’s fingerprint ID gives another layer of protection. If a hacker is using spyware, they can track your keyboard input using keystroke logging software. This gives them access to view you inputting your usernames and passwords directly. Fingerprint ID fights this as it cannot be tracked using the same method.