Arrow back

What do hackers use your data for?

15 November, 2021

You’re probably already aware that hacking is becoming a bigger and bigger problem for organisations of all sizes, despite the sophisticated cybersecurity software that is often pushed forward as a ‘cure’.

2020 was a record-breaking year for hacking attempts against UK firms, owing largely to the fact that with many of us working from home, our personal security levels have slipped.

The fallout from a successful hack can be extensive, including reputational damage, fines and loss of customer trust. But what do hackers get out of the deal?

Here are some of the things that hackers use stolen personal information for:

Identity theft

Criminals often illegally access data so that they can steal someone’s identity for financial gain. For example, they can use personal information to apply for loans and credit cards in the victim’s name. In some cases, identity thieves can purchase goods using financial details.

When hacking organisations, a criminal may steal the identity of a trusted senior team leader to encourage more junior staff to give over crucial data.

Selling onto other criminals

It is quite common for cybercriminals to sell data to other criminals on the dark web. The buyer will then use the data for identity theft and other crimes. Hackers sell certain pieces of personal data, sometimes using a shopping list of prices, where there will be a set price for information such as credit and debit card information.

Account takeover

Hackers can use data to take over accounts such as shopping accounts. They will usually change your password so that you will not be able to log into your account, so you might not notice that they have taken over your account immediately.

In targeted phishing attacks

By using personal information, cybercriminals can make phishing attacks seem more authentic, by using the information in the email and tricking victims into thinking that the email is genuine. In these cases, a breach is often just the start of a longer-term series of attacks.

To cause reputational damage

Another way that hackers can use stolen data is to cause embarrassment and reputational damage to companies. Hackers may try to blackmail people, threatening to leak data that would cause harm to the company.

How do you protect your company from hackers?

If your company stores personal information about customers or employees, then it is important that appropriate security measures are in place as per the data protection regulations. 

Having the most up to date software installed on your company’s computers is one of the most effective ways to protect data, as well as deploying a number of other security solutions such as firewalls and making sure your website incorporates the highest level of security protection.

However, even with the most expensive security systems in place, your company may still be vulnerable to hackers when they target employees through phishing emails and other scams. This is because 90% of breaches start with simple human error.

Therefore, the best method of boosting data security in your organisation is to regularly educate and train employees, so that they know what a scam looks like and what to do if they receive one.

Bob’s Business designs effective online training solutions to empower employees to protect their company by increasing their cyber security awareness, using award-winning techniques like our innovative courses and phishing simulations

To ensure that your company is as well protected as possible, see how our training courses and simulations will boost your online security.

Back to resources

Ready to build your cybersecurity culture?

Whether you’re looking for complete culture change, phishing simulations or compliance training, we have solutions that are tailor-made to fit for your organisation.

Girl with laptop
Boy with laptop
man and woman with laptops
Global Cyber Alliance