The past two years have been pretty intense when it comes to data breaches. Hackers have been working hard on getting a hold of as much information as possible, and with time they have learned who makes a better target. They started with massive records from very diverse databases of retail store clients, then continued with celebrities, big executives from the entertainment industry, the government of the U.S., and the latest strike of hackers was Ashley Madison, the most popular infidelity website. If one thing is clear it is that criminals know very well that information is power, and that certainly there are people who have a lot to lose if certain parts of their personal lives are revealed.
For a long time, our international private investigators at Wymoo have been advising people to protect their personal information, to share less online and to try to keep as anonymous as possible. Data protection is not a matter of hiding or being paranoid, it’s a matter of keeping your life and your loved ones safe. “People often say that when you have nothing to hide, there is no reason to worry about privacy. But online criminals do not care who you are or what are your secrets, they´ll use anything they have against you”, says Stephen Garcia, VP of Private Investigations at Wymoo. The more information about you online and on public record, the more at risk you and your family members are.
Data or criminals accessing information about use is not just about identity theft. Sharing information on Facebook and posting information on the Internet for the whole world to see can end up in much more serious crime, ranging from burglary, assault and even homicide. Armed with all your information, some criminals use Google Maps to plan their attack or entrance to your home.
Thousands of people have to deal with fraudulent credit card charges, international orders, extortion, etc. Some people´s names and identities have even been used for money laundering activities, drug trafficking, online romance scams and more serious types of crime. Every day at Wymoo we see cases of people who feel their lives have been ruined because they were involved in some kind of scam or fraud online. And although many of these cases are finally cleared up, the consequences may have already been catastrophic: big money losses, losing family and friends trust, jobs, etc.
Avoiding identity theft by making a better use of the internet should be the first step to fight online criminals and their attacks. But, in today’s world where information is power, investigators say it’s critical to share less online, and share less with government and companies. Use a P.O. box and pay in cash when possible. When you provide data, keep in mind it could be used against you.
Many people could be affected by the information that hackers are threatening to reveal from the users of Ashley Madison. And it is too bad that many of the affected are not the adulterers but their families who should not be exposed to public humiliation. Hackers have threatened to leak nude photos, sexual fantasies, real names, and credit card information for as many as 37 million customers worldwide, or sell it to the highest bidder. The consequences of this data breach might still be affecting the victims years from now. And the fact that this happened is yet another reason that explains why online privacy protection is critical.
Many people don’t realize how much personal information companies are storing, and don’t stop to think about how this information may be used if it gets to the wrong hands. Nobody thinks about the potential consequences when they swipe a credit card, provide their date of birth and address, or share their lives in social media sites like Facebook, or give their number to an online retailer. Even using Google can put you at risk, as the company records everything you search for, and your search history and profile can later be shared and sold to third parties, including the government!
Protecting your privacy is very important! Take steps to be safe.
© 2015 Wymoo International
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