One of the most common questions we get here is “Am I a target for hackers?” When we respond “Yes!”, we usually get a follow up question “Really?”
The simple answer is “Yes”, but if you want a more detailed explanation, that’s going to take a couple of minutes. Everyone is a target. There are lots of reasons for this.
Hackers may be motivated by many things. Of course, Money is a key driver for many, but certainly not all hackers. Let’s look into some of the types of hackers out there, and their motivations, to start with:
Political: Hackers who want their candidate to win, or often, want another candidate to lose. Hackers with a political motivation are extremely dedicated. They see nothing wrong with using other people to get their way. They will hack you personally, just so they have another email address to signa petition with, or so they can post on social media. They’ll even hack thousands of people just to increase their page likes on Facebook. The main threat here is your reputation. They won’t mid trashing your reputation to achieve their goals.
Industrial or State Espionage: You might think you have nothing of value to these hackers, but they’re keen to hack you. They want your friends list, so they can infiltrate them. Then they get a few more friends lists and sooner or later they find a person they’re really interested in. They use your friendships to share content and find back doors into companies or governments.
Script Kiddies and Wannabes: These are the junior hackers who aren’t ready for the big time yet, so they try hacking the regular people. Now they might just be practising, or they might get into your bank account and steal a few bucks to keep themselves motivated. The real goal here though is skills and experience. They’re after bigger fish, but they will practice on you… and it might cost you dearly when they do.
Money: These are the most common types, but I’ve left them to last. Often seen as the biggest threat, they can clean out your bank account in an instant. This is a very lucrative business, and they’ll hack dozens of people a week to make their income. Don’t think just because you don’t have much, they won’t target you. They’ll take you for whatever they can get.
Please be careful what you post online. Be very careful what information you give out online or over the phone. Don’t make yourself an easy target.
Use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication where-ever possible. And whatever you do, don’t use the same password for everything. Cracking one site can give the hackers access to all your accounts across the whole internet if you’ve based all your security on a single password.
Don’t make yourself a target for hackers.