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Persona (non) grata

Persona (non) grata

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An extramarital affair with consequences

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User personal information is a commodity on the cybercrime black market. Once cybercriminals have your confidential information, they can get access to your finances, steal your identity to commit unlawful acts in your name, and commit many other virtual offences.

Many people wrongly believe that personal information consists of just a full name or credit card information.

Personal information is any information that refers to a person (a natural person) or can be used to identify (find) that individual.

The content of private correspondence is also personal information and can be an object for trade! Your correspondence will be of interest to hackers even if you are not an important official, but only a husband...who wants to secretly cheat on his wife.

In summer 2015, cybercriminals from the Impact Team breached the Canadian dating site AshleyMadison.com, which was offering services to married people seeking extramarital affairs. Criminals gained access to the personal information of about 40 million people (can you fathom such a number?!), including their full real names, credit card details, the photos and aliases under which they became acquainted with each other, as well as Ashley Madison’s internal data, including financial information.

The hackers did not set out to shame adulterers. Information was stolen for blackmailing purposes. Part of the information was openly posted; the hackers also sent information to the e-mail addresses of users whose data had been affected in order to get ransom money in exchange for the compromised sensitive information. The hackers demanded that the website be closed and promised to publish new information daily about people interested in extramarital affairs.

The Ashley Madison data breach showed once again that no Internet resource can guarantee the absolute protection of personal information!

Dr.Web recommends

  • The most reliable way to keep your personal information from being leaked is to not use it online, even if you are guaranteed full security.
  • Remember: once information gets on the Internet, it is there permanently. So, at least try not to write anything more than you absolutely have to about yourself in the network, especially in open correspondence — any personal data can be used against you, and ambiguous photos can be an object for blackmail.

This list of tips is not exhaustive. This topic is wide-ranging, and many of our future issues will be devoted to it.

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