RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Data stolen from a popular online employment service as well as a massive ransomware attack this holiday weekend has security experts warning people your personal information is at risk – and you need to protect yourself.
Ransomware attacks and data breaches. The two go hand in hand when it comes to exposing your information to identity thieves and you must be proactive to stop it.
To the average person, a data breach doesn’t seem sound serious, but in reality, it is.
“When we have these attacks, the public isn’t generally aware of it because they’re notified about it individually, so it doesn’t seem like a threat,” said Grant Gibson, a cybersecurity expert at CIBR Institute.
The online service Linkedin has been the victim of what’s called a data-scraping attack.
Data scraping is when a computer program extracts data from another program.
As a result of the data scraping of their site, security experts say the information of 700 million users, or about 92 percent of LinkedIn clients, has been posted for sale on the dark web.
Among the data out there that’s been spotted by security experts:
- Email addresses
- Full names
- Phone numbers
- Physical addresses
- Geolocation records
- LinkedIn username and profile URL
- Personal and professional experience/background
- Other social media accounts and usernames
LinkedIn said no passwords were stolen, but security experts there’s enough information out there for criminals to create a fake identity of a person.
“It’s not a matter of can you be hacked but it’s a matter of how many resources can someone throw at you to hack you,” said Gibson.
Here’s why the info taken from Linkedin can affect your life: Scammers will use it in social engineering attempts.
“The most common way scammers will get info from you is a phishing attack,” said Alyssa Parker of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern NC.
That phishing is usually a fake email trying to get your passwords, bank account or social security numbers.
Parker says criminals can also try and access your credit so, you also need to freeze it.
“If your info gets into the wrong hands of the wrong people, they could open up a credit card in your name and that could really affect your credit score,” she said.
Experts say in the coming months we are going to see more and more attacks because they are very profitable for criminals.
Experion says there are several ways you can protect yourself from identity theft including making sure you have secure passwords on all your devices. Other tips are available here.
If you are the victim of a data breach, act fast to protect yourself. You can find tips on how to do that here.