After the announcement by Yahoo that over one billion user accounts were hacked this past weekend, there’s great alarm all over the world that a strong group of hackers are accumulating large data files of personal information on as much as a third of the world’s population.
Unlike recent hacks involving the political arena, not all hackers are interested in accumulating people’s personal emails. Instead, there are many of them seeking access to passwords, logins and perhaps banking information. Even if they don’t use the information themselves, there are plenty of cyber-crooks who are willing to pay big money for access to this kind of information.
The fact so many people establish user names and passwords on their banking and credit accounts that are similar to the ones used for their email, it provides these criminals with the means to start the process of getting easy access to personal and vital information. In fact, hackers can get access to a Yahoo or Gmail with just a user login by simply clicking on the “forgot password” option and getting the password sent to a predetermined location. The password can then be reset, giving the hackers complete control over someone’s email account.
According to Omri Iluz, the co-founder and CEO of PerimeterX, hackers can obtain this information and “Within an hour, they drain your bank account. They ship items from your stores. They try to infect your friends [on social media].” He later added, “Email accounts go on the underground marketplaces for 10 to 20 times more than credit card [accounts].”
In order for you to keep your personal information protected, you must be resolute about not opening phishing emails from people you don’t know. Furthermore, you should never disclose personal information over the Internet without a secure connection and verification of the identity of the person or company requesting said information.