How Does a Cybercriminal Target Me?

Our personal information is stored within hundreds, possibly thousands, of databases. These include corporations and government agencies and even our own computers. A cybercriminal knows this and can easily access the information by finding the vulnerabilities in your network or any network that holds your data.

If your home's wireless Internet connection is not secure, you are vulnerable. Additionally, if your computer's operating system is not up to date, you are vulnerable.

If you are not using a browser with the latest updates applied, you are vulnerable. If you visit risky websites, if you visit online gaming sites, if you download pirated software, music or movies, you are vulnerable.

Even if you have updated security software, if you enter credit card information into an improperly secured website, you are vulnerable.  If you enter a Social Security number into a website that is not secured, you are vulnerable. If you give data to a company that believes they are secure, but it turns out they are not, you are vulnerable.

As you can see, you are vulnerable to a cyber attack no matter what. A cybercriminal can and will target everyone and anyone, whether a system is secure or not, in order to obtain as much information about a person as possible.

For instance, any company that offers credit must have your name, date of birth, address and Social Security number to verify identity and run a credit background check.

This includes insurance companies, hospitals, credit card issuers, banks and car dealerships. 

Now, more than ever, criminal hackers are breaking into databases that contain Social Security numbers, and then using those numbers to open up new accounts. These criminals often use stolen Social Security number to obtain credit cards, mobile phones, loans and other products.

Some people even find that identity thieves have refinanced their mortgages without the knowledge of the homeowner, which robs them of the equity of the home.

Some people don't have a savings account, have poor credit or don't have a lot of money in their checking account. These people may not think they would be a target for identity thieves. This, however, is not true. A Social Security number is all you need to obtain credit, even when there is not a good credit history. There are certainly businesses that will offer credit to people with bad credit, though at a higher interest rate. Criminals don't care, however, as they have no intention of paying the bill. The same goes for a checking account. A criminal can usually just deposit $100 into the account, and then use the checks almost immediately. Of course, since the checks are in your name, it is immediately your problem.

The technology that we use daily has become an indispensable part of our lives. We now rely on our personal computers and Internet connections more than ever before, and in this way, our lives have changed forever. We will continue this trend, too, as more technology is developed. However, criminals will do this, too, and will dedicate more of their efforts into finding a wider range of ways to exploit the tools that can compromise your security.

While these criminals seek out vulnerabilities in networks, security professionals are doing all they can to stop them.

It is up to you to protect your own identity. This may entail practices such as shredding documents, locking mailboxes, protecting your Social Security number or making an investment into identity theft products. The issue of identity theft or cybercrime is not going to get better, it will only get worse, so protect yourself, today.