How to stop your data getting stolen.

Would you auction your personal life online? Here’s 1 easy way to stop your data getting stolen.

The idea of someone hunched over their laptop computer, neck deep in code as they rummage through the dark web to steal your identity is pretty scary stuff.

What’s even scarier, is the practice of identity theft has become so common, that not only is there an established and fluid market for it, but the Yanks have come up with their own Privacy Affairs Dark Web Price Index that shows the current value of various hacked accounts. 

Like eBay for your personal life, people can bid in a live auction on the dark web, to steal your data and use it to cover their tracks on crimes they commit online, or even worse, commit a crime against you.

For those of you that don’t know about the “Dark Web”, it’s a layer of the internet that you can only reach using particular software that allows you to interact anonymously with other people and organisations.

Mostly, it is used for organised crime and criminal trade, and other eCommerce avenues that you would normally only find to operate underground in the real world.

How data breaches work primarily is that a ‘hacker’ will figure out what your password is to something that really isn’t that important, and doesn’t have a lot of security (so it’s easier to hack). Once they have done that, they’ll use that key piece of information to figure out what your password is to something that is very important, and fairly hard to hack, like your email, or your Facebook account. 

Things that are not all that important, but that you may have a password for, might be a utilities account (water, electricity, etc), or favourite website for your fishing club, whatever. 

But the hackers know that when they discover that key piece of information, their chance of hacking your important accounts suddenly skyrockets.

You see a lot of people either use the same password for everything, or they tend to use a variant of that password for most of your other accounts. For example one password was a birthday, and whilst you don’t use the same date for everything you do choose to use “birthdays” as your password key. So all they have to do is look at the birthdays of those closest to you and viola, what’s yours is now theirs.

The trading of information on the dark web, and the misuse of it commercially is a significant issue. You’ll see on the Dark Web Price Index that you can buy 1000 x Instagram followers for a market rate of $7 (USD). 

Likely that would be at least one of the reasons Facebook removed the Instagram follower count from the Influencers commercial tool kit. 

$7 per 1000 followers, and then you can sell those followers to brands over and over and over again. As I’ve said many times before, there’s a lot of smoke and mirrors in digital.


So how can you stop this happening to you? 

Well one very easy way to protect yourself is to make it as difficult as you can for the hackers by having a unique password for each and every account that you own. 

Unfortunately, that is much easier said than done – hence the dark web, online marketplace and its own price index like the ASX. 

Maybe just go old school and write it down on a piece of paper so you don’t forget them – funny that’s actually not as stupid as it sounds.

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