We live in a world of big data. In the shadows large organisations like Equifax scoop up huge quantities of data on us. These companies which form a part of a multi-billion dollar data broker industry, collect, analyse and sell thousands of data points about individual people.

This data paints a detailed picture of someone’s life whether its loan applications, renting an apartment or even finding a job. As a company adds more information to the mountains of data it has the value grows encouraging them to continuously accumulate as much data as possible.

Data is knowledge, knowledge is power and power invariably turns into money. The more data you have, the more power and the more money. A prime example is Amazon. It started as an online store selling books but along the way its website collected data on user interactions and turned that data into knowledge.

Today Amazon is a huge company and its latest advancement the Alexa intelligent personal digital assistant is nothing more than an advanced data collection tool that we willingly set up inside our home complete with a direct link back to Amazon.

It’s no surprise then that data is often called the ‘new oil’ because it generates huge profits for a fast-growing industry. However, the vaults that hold these huge quantities of data are often vulnerable to hackers.

These vast databanks are like a beacon to hackers and their persistent probing often reveals weaknesses they can exploit. We need look no further than last’s year’s monster breach at Equifax exposing the personal information of up to 143 million people as an example.
 

BullGuard protects your devices from spies and hackers

TRY NOW FOR FREE - 90 DAYS
 
But what do hackers do with all this information? In short they sell it on the cyber criminals’ black market.
The Rand Corporation in report called Markets for Cybercrime Tools and Stolen Data, Hackers’ Bazaar described this cyber-criminal underground as:
  • The  hacker  market—once  a  varied landscape of discrete, ad hoc networks of individuals initially motivated by little more than ego and notoriety—has emerged as a playground of financially driven, highly organized, and sophisticated groups.

Hackers are looking for a variety of information:
  • Personally identifiable information such as names, addresses, email addresses, passwords and so on
  • Financial, healthcare and education information such as banks, doctors, colleges
  • Credit and debit card information, bank account numbers, sort code numbers
  • Other ID credentials like passport numbers, driving licence details

This information is either stolen via malware or by hacking large databases such as those owned by data-brokers like Equifax, retailers, government organisations and others. Depending on the type of information stolen cyber criminals can carry out different types of fraud:
  • Identity fraud, loan applications, mortgage applications and so on
  • Create counterfeit credit/debit cards, pay bills, transfer money
  • Make fraudulent insurance claims, buy prescription medicines
  • Make fraudulent online purchases
  • Launch spam and phishing attacks and distribute ransomware
  • Use the information for blackmail, extortion, hacktivism and so on

Is it any wonder that your personal information is much more valuable than you may think?  Large corporations want it, hackers want it and cyber criminals want it. It has value, it translates into hard money.
  • BullGuard Premium Protection safeguards your personal information from being exploited by hackers and cyber criminals.
  • BullGuard scans the entire web for your usernames, email and postal addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, passwords and any other information that you provide. 
  • If any of these registered details is made public online, for instance on an underground cyber-criminal forum we immediately alert you via email or text message, and provide you with advice on what to do next.