If you think for one minute that your identity and private information, including financial matters, are safe and out of the reach of cyber criminals, you are seriously in error.
Keep reading the following paragraphs to get an idea just how vulnerable you are and how thieves and fraudsters go about their slimy business.
Apparently a New York City private investigator thought he could drum up some business by offering access to confidential e-mail accounts for a fee. He was right. He acquired several clients who were willing to pay good money for illegally obtained information.
Sixty different victims
The private eye knew people who would hack e-mail accounts on behalf of his clients, and sometimes he used the hackers for personal reasons. It is thought that he hired people to hack the e-mails of 60 different victims.
Some of the victims had multiple e-mail accounts. The additional accounts were not safe either. The hackers got into them as well.
The fun didn’t stop with a poke here and there into someone’s private information. The private eye was also given login information, including user names and passwords, so repeat visits could be made over long periods of time to the e-mail accounts of unknowing victims.
Critical financial data
What can be taken during such surreptitious intrusions? In divorce cases, extramarital affairs can be discovered and used against the straying spouse. If there is a contentious property settlement involved, critical financial data can be uncovered and brought before a judge.
Maybe the hacking victims were big online shoppers. Fine. The credit cards they used for those purchases are at risk. In no time flat, credit card numbers, names and dates can be lifted and used to make new cards to be taken on illicit shopping sprees.
What about proprietary business information that would be useful to a competitor? It can be easily obtained by a hacker and put to use in such a way that the victim would be driven into bankruptcy.
The threat is very real and it’s out there. Hacking is no longer strictly the domain of highly skilled professional crooks. The skills required are now filtering down to street-level thugs.
The heartbreak of identity theft can be avoided by taking a few basic common sense measures and maybe buying some new software.
It’s worth the trouble.