How Vulnerable are You to a Hacker?

In one of these days, each and every one of us, without a doubt have stumbled upon, at least once, an article or a video of a particular person, a business, a government site, a corporation being victims of data breaches from anonymous hackers either for good intention or vicious self-gain. Throughout the history there are countless breakout of these incidents, these criminal activities, and some of those are known and made available of the public eyes, but what about those that are not found out, those hackers who got away harming other people? Somehow that already crossed your mind about all of this things that’s happening in the world, or some might say this is obvious.

But it also crossed your mind, why does it matter? besides, you got nothing to hide, and the chance of you being targeted is nothing compared to a celebrity, or a politician. Well, my friend, you got everything to hide from a hacker.

THE CURRENT ISSUE:

1. Social media

The issue is that users of social networks, as uninformed as they may be, take this issue very lightly. Most, as vulnerable as they may be, take it with a grain of salt of how vulnerable they are to potential hackers out there. With the perks of being able to communicate and share general  or  personal going-ons to their friends and family to see, folks tend to undermine the importance and safety of their privacy. It’s not opinionated to say that some get recklessly negligent on their security like passwords for instance, not just ordinary people but also cyber security professionals.

rsa_report_17.jpgAnother of the things that are taken for granted most of time is how advanced technologies has become nowadays, and how untrustworthy they are. A certain lot of people are too generous, and too trusting on social media, for example conforming to log in their Facebook or email accounts on a game app to invite friends, giving in to completing random quizzes about your personal interests or opinions to just volunteer more information about themselves to unreliable websites.

It’s hard to break this to you but even statuses, pictures, locations and other voluntary information that you put out there can also be harmfully used against you.

People use Facebook to contact each other privately, whether to their family, friends, colleagues, and their bosses, and unless you are a very conservative person (as you should moderately be on the internet), it is natural that you have sent and received a lot of personal information, confidential and non-confidential stuff about yourself and others, and your opinion on things in your private messages. And imagine what could happen if someone gets hold of your accounts, not so private now, are they?

One case of a cyber-crime involved a hacker who used just Facebook status updates, pictures, and other personal details posted publicly to hack email accounts, and then posted embarrassing photos of the victims on Facebook, and most of the victims are females. Terrified yet?

Reported a while ago, 0.06% of the billions users of Facebook are hacked daily. Now that doesn’t sound like much right, but wake up! it’s 600,000 accounts being hacked ‘daily’. And the report was seven years ago, when technology and IT studies were undoubtedly advanced than now.

On top of that here’s a reminder of recent incidents…

87 million Facebook users affected by data breach

Beginning since 2014, Cambridge Analytica was found to have collected Facebook users information without their consent, for the purpose of influencing the US presidential election.

The company which was alleged to conspire with Donald Trump’s election team, has said to be compiled millions of US citizen’s data, to experiment their propaganda strategy and influence voters. According to Zuckerberg, the number of users affected has reach 87 million. Read more>>

However, it’s not only Facebook accounts that have hacked, reported in 2017, about six million Instagram accounts have been tragically uncovered on the internet

A bunch of hackers created a dark web forum selling data of personal information database of personal information, revealing private phone numbers and email addresses.

According Telegraph, “photo hacks soared after an incident of compromised photos of the singer Selena Gomez.

Claimed by the UK security research that hundreds of contact details of celebrities including Emma Watson, Taylor Swift and Harry Styles were found on the dark web.

There were even sales of personal data that could be accessed for a price of $10 per search.

2. Emails and Cloud storage hacks

The cases involving the hacks of social media accounts such as Facebook and Instagram are barely the tip of the iceberg. Regardless, those are less than a fraction of what they can do with the information they got from your social media accounts. Those vicous hackers with their vicious wit can ‘phish’ out bits and bits of details, and use those compiled details to get the gist of answers to security questions and answers or even passwords to your email account.

The ‘phished’ details might include birthdays (even if you don’t put it on your profile, they can still scroll through your wall posts or pictures, trust me, it’s easier than you think), your address, your mother’s name, the town you met your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse and so on. And it’s even worse if you put out your email that you use for your cloud storage, banks, credit cards and other important, financial related platforms, it’s so much less of a pain in the neck for those cyber criminals, you’re just basically asking for it. And if your social media profiles are an aquarium, your emails are the ocean! No, I’m not exaggerating!

iCloud Photos of Celebrities Hacked, 2014

Jennifer Lawrence

And as more people are increasingly using the cloud to keep their personal and confidential data. With the emails hacked they could get their hands on a lot of useful information for their own gain. And of course people with high profiles stand very high chance of being targeted by those culprits, as seen by what fell upon an Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence one day in 2014.

The famous actress had involuntarily became one of the several celebrities who had learned it the hard way that storing your nudes in Apple iCloud probably wasn’t the best idea. It was just a part of a huge leak of nude and nearly nude photographs of Rihanna, Kate Upton, Kaley Cuoco, Adrianne Curry, and almost three hundred other celebrities, most of them women, whose smart phone images had been accessed remotely. Just imagine one day, waking up in one summer morning having to face the ‘seemingly impossible’ incident of your nudes splashing around on the net, for everyone to see, including everyone you know, your friends, your family. It is the nightmare of every single human being.

Nonetheless, Apple, who barely ever provided any details on security issues, did not own the blame on their part. Instead, they claimed the breach was a “very targeted attack on user names, passwords, and security question” and added that “none of the cases we have investigated has resulted from any breach in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud or Find my iPhone.”

500 million Yahoo accounts were stolen

Nothing could be as catastrophic as an infiltration into a big company and seizes a billion passwords of users. Despite the fact that this large-scale is thankfully very hard to maneuver, it still happens.

Yahoo Voice hacked, 400,000 yahoo passwords leaked

Back in 2014, the biggest email hack  in the history of the world was revealed. Almost half a billion users of Yahoo accounts were compromised with unencrypted security questions and answers which are mostly link to other accounts as well as. Therefore, users were forced to change their passwords and basically everything else related to security on other networks.

LinkedIn Lost 167 Million Account Credentials in Data Breach in 2012

linkedin-blunders1.jpg

According to Fortune, 6.5 million encrypted passwords were seized by a Russian hacker, who goes by the name “Peace” was selling 117 email and password combinations on the dark web for bitcoins, which was about $2,300. Read more>>

Here are the top five other major data breaches:

1.  Adult Friend Finder

Impacted for than 412.2 million accounts. Datas included names, email addresses and passwords.

2. eBay

145 million users compromised. Names, addresses, dates of birth and encrypted passwords were exposed.

3. Equifax

Personal information (including Social Security Numbers, birth dates, addresses, and in some cases drivers’ license numbers) of 143 million consumers; 209,000 consumers also had their credit card data exposed.

4.  Heartland Payment Systems 

134 million credit cards exposed through SQL injection to install spyware on Heartland’s data systems.

 5. Target Stores 

Credit/debit card information and/or contact information of up to 110 million people compromised.

And the list goes on and on and on…..So the next time you’re about to post things on social media, send emails, setting passwords, or taking pictures, think about how much nuisance you stand to face, if shit happens.

See also:

The summary of internet for people in a hurry – Part 1

How to protect your credit/debit card

The summary of the dark web for people in a hurry

Advices from Kevin Mitnick