Personal Protection and Education

Personal Protection & Education

You Are A Target

You may not realize it, but you are a target for cyber criminals. Your computer, your mobile devices, your accounts and your information all have tremendous value. This information demonstrates the many different ways cyber criminals can make money by hacking you. Fortunately, by taking some simple steps, you can help protect yourself and your family.

Username & Passwords: Once hacked, cyber criminals can install programs on your computer that capture all your keystrokes, including your username and password. That information is used to log into your online accounts, such as:

  • Your bank or financial accounts, where they can steal or transfer your money.
  • Your iCloud, Google Drive, or Dropbox account where they can access all your sensitive data.
  • Your Amazon, Walmart or other online shopping accounts where they can purchase goods in your name.
  • Your UPS or Fedex accounts, where they ship stolen goods in your name.

Email Harvesting: Once hacked, cyber criminals can read your email for information they can sell to others, such as:

  • All the names, email addresses and phone numbers from your contact list.
  • All of your personal or work email.

Virtual Goods: Once hacked, cyber criminals can copy and steal any virtual goods you have and sell them to others, such as:

  • Your online gaming characters, gaming goods or gaming currencies.
  • Any software licenses, operating system license keys, or gaming licenses.

Botnet: Once hacked, your computer can be connected to an entire network of hacked computers controlled by the cyber criminal. This network, called a botnet, can then be used for activities such as:

  • Sending out spam to millions of people.
  • Launching Denial of Service attacks.

Identity Hijacking: Once hacked, cyber criminals can steal your online identity to commit fraud or sell your identity to others, such as:

  • Your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account.
  • Your email accounts.
  • Your Skype or other IM accounts.

Web Server: Once hacked, cyber criminals can turn your computer into a web server, which they can use for the following

  • Hosting phishing websites to steal other people’s usernames and passwords.
  • Hosting attacking tools that will hack people’s computers.
  • Distributing child pornography, pirated videos or stolen music

Financial: Once hacked, cyber criminals can scan your system looking for valuable information, such as:

  • Your credit card information.
  • Your tax records and past filings.
  • our financial investments and retirement plans.

Extortion: Once hacked, cyber criminals can take over your computer and demand money. They do this by:

  • Taking pictures of you with your computer camera and demanding payment to destroy or not release the pictures.
  • Encrypting all the data on your computer and demanding payment to decrypt it.
  • Tracking all websites you visit and threatening to publish them.

This information is shared from the SANS Institute: Securing The Human and is based on the original work of Brian Krebs. You can learn more about cyber criminals at his blog at

Page last modified October 26, 2018