A lot of people I talk to give me the same response: “there’s no reason anyone would want to hack me.”
The truth is, they would. For several reasons.
The funny thing is when these people are actually quite financially successful. They own nice cars and big houses.
You have money. Of course cyber criminals are going to want to hack you.
That’s the most obvious answer, but there are actually various reasons a cyber criminal would want to hack you.
The term hacking doesn’t have to mean a bad thing.
I want to say that in this post I’m referring to cyber attacks as “hacking” which I generally hate to do, but it’s the term people understand best.
The term hacking doesn’t have to mean cyber crime. In this particular episode, it does.
But, hacking as a whole does not need to only represent cyber crime. Hacking can be completely innocent.
Just like many other things. Hacking is a skillset that can be used for good or evil.
A locksmith can pick locks to help you get back into your car. That’s a good thing. They also could use that skillset to break into cars and steal stuff. That’s a bad thing.
But, we don’t inherently think of locksmithing as a bad thing, right?
The idea behind hacking needs to be that way as well. Don’t think of hacking as a bad thing primarily. Most of the time, it’s a good thing.
But, sometimes cyber criminals use it for evil. That’s what this blog post is about.
1. You have money.
A huge reason someone would want to hack you is because you have money.
I know that a lot of us out here don’t have money. The gap is widening between the haves and the have nots.
If you’re a have not, this reason for hacking obviously doesn’t apply to you, but others will so stick around.
If you have money, that’s the most obvious reason to hack you.
Do I really need to go into detail why this is? It’s obvious why someone with wealth would be a target, right? Let’s move on, then.
2. You have a good credit score.
You don’t have to have a lot of money, or any money, to have a good credit score.
I’ve been completely broke and still had a near 800 credit score.
Having a good credit score makes you a target.
Good credit scores can be used to get high limit credit cards and loans.
It used to be that you had to apply for these things in person, but now-a-days you can get credit cards and even six figure loans through online services.
Never having to talk to someone at all.
Cyber criminals could use hacking skills to steal your identity and get these credit cards and loans and then spend the money before you even know it.
This will tank your credit score big time.
In fact, identity theft costs individuals an average of $7000 and 100 hours of time to fix.
That’s a huge headache.
You need personal privacy and cyber security to keep this from happening to you. It can happen to you. I’m serious.
3. You were randomly chosen.
Sometimes, you’re not a target. Sometimes you’re just randomly chosen.
How does this happen?
Usually, it comes from a past data breach.
There are a lot of data breaches every year. We’ve seen a lot of big name ones, too.
Target has had at least two data breaches. If you’ve shopped at Target, you’re probably in it.
Walmart has had at least one. If you’ve shopped at Walmart, you’re probably in it.
There was the Equifax breach. I think almost everyone is in that one because they monitor credit.
These databases of information get leaked or sold or just released online for anyone to view.
Then cyber criminals build software that automates the process of finding more accounts of the users that have already been exposed.
For example, let’s say your Target account got exposed with both your email and your password.
If you use the same email and password for other websites, they now have access to that.
They could use software to just go down the line in the breached database and try your email address and password on various websites.
If you use the same email and password on your email, boom, they have access to your email.
Facebook? Boom. They have access to your Facebook.
In Episode 1 of the Your Secure Life podcast we talked about Password Managers and how they have random password generators. You should be using these password generators for every single website you access.
Every website should have a different password, randomly generated.
And, if you’ve taken our guide to clean up your digital footprint in five days or less, you’ll also know about using different emails for different things.
If you haven’t checked out that guide, it’s free at YourSecure.Life/guide.
You can also protect yourself against random attacks like this by minimizing the amount of accounts you have.
If you don’t need the account, you shouldn’t have it. Go and close all your old unused accounts.
4. You pissed someone off on the internet.
This one is as much as lesson about privacy and security as it is a lesson of not arguing with people on the internet.
In this political climate, there’s a lot of volatile conversations going on.
It’s one of the reasons I don’t really use social media much anymore.
I’m hardly ever on Twitter, which seems to be the worse these days.
It’s even leaking on to LinkedIn. I can’t stand it. It makes me not want to be online.
Anyway, the scary truth is that you could piss off the wrong person.
That person could have the skills to stalk and harass you.
It could be minor like sending you rude letters.
Or maybe they order pizzas and have them sent to your door.
It could also be dangerous. They could call the police and say there’s a bomb threat at your home.
This is called SWATing and it’s very dangerous. This is a harassment technique where people actually get hurt.
It’s terrifying, and it could happen to you simply for saying the “wrong” thing on the internet.
5. You’re not the target, but someone close to you is.
Another reason you could be targeted is because you’re not the target, but someone close to you is.
You have absolutely no control over this. Anyone close to you could do something to piss off someone on the internet and become a target.
If they’re a target, everyone close to them now becomes a target.
This is why it’s key to evangelize the importance of privacy and security to everyone you know. This is known as “herd immunity.”
The more of us that are private and secure, the more safe we all are.
An example of this is your roommate or significant other.
You may have taken the steps to make it impossible to find your address attached to your name.
You’ve done everything right that an individual could possibly do.
But, someone else who lives in your house didn’t.
And, on their social media, anyone who passes by can tell that they live with you.
Well, now your address is on the internet, just under a different name, but your harasser knows.
Now, flip it and reverse it. It’s your significant other who said the wrong thing online, and they’re being stalked now. They were safe, but you haven’t been.
Don’t be this person. Don’t be someone else’s weak link.
6. You have any sort of visible web presence that is beyond normal.
Anyone who is intentionally building a web presence is making themselves a target.
Yeah, that includes me. I’m taking the risk because I want to help you be safer. I want that herd immunity I mentioned earlier.
If you’re an online entrepreneur, you’re making yourself a target.
If you’re a YouTuber, you’re making yourself a target.
If you’re a Twitch Streamer, you’re making yourself a target.
Even game developers, artists, and other types of programmers are finding themselves being stalked and harassed these days.
How to protect yourself from this:
It’s a scary world out here these days. There’s really so little that could set someone off to want to attack you, hack you, steal your identity, whatever.
Luckily, it’s actually pretty easy to keep yourself safe.
You just have to know what to do, what not to do, and be intentional with your online presence.
I’ve put together a free guide on how to clean up your web presence in five days or less.
Not only will you clean up your presence, but it will help you learn how to keep your web presence clean, too.
The goal of this guide is that you only have to do it once.
I don’t want you to just clean up your web presence, but keep it clean forever.
The guide is free, and you can get it at YourSecure.Life/guide.
Go get it, get started, and of course you’ll get access to email me directly if you have any questions at all.
Photo by Lionello DelPiccolo on Unsplash