With the rise of the digital age, our personal information is more vulnerable than ever. From social media accounts to online banking, we entrust much of our sensitive information to the Internet. Unfortunately, cybercriminals always seek ways to access and exploit this data. This article will explore why cybercriminals want your personal data and how you can protect yourself.

Financial Gain

Many people are worried that with the rise of online verification requirements, malicious parties could gain access and target them. As explained in Private Internet Access’ blog piece, there is a clear concern that this data is handed over and then users have little control over what is then done with it. This data can be used for financial reasons, including stealing bank details, making false transactions, and cloning your financial data.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is a real concern and is something that has been occurring for some time now online. What’s different now, however, is that we’re handing over more data than ever before, often to companies that are partnered with hundreds or even thousands of third parties, making it almost impossible to know who has access to it. It only takes one bad company to use this data maliciously for it to end up in the hand of criminals.

Spam and Scams

Another reason why cybercriminals may want your personal data is to send you spam and potentially scam you. This can be done via email or even over the phone, and perpetrators will often pose as a trusted party. If they gain access to your computer or email platform, they can impersonate you and replicate this process when connecting with your friends, which expands their reach. 

Espionage and Sabotage

For those working for their local or national government, this is an even more significant concern, as sensitive data can easily end up in the wrong hands. High-level cybercriminals can obtain personal and public data via phishing schemes and then sell it via the dark web, which can see it being bought by foreign enemies or spies, putting countless people at risk. If an email looks suspect and you question its authenticity for even a second, it’s always worth further investigation. 

How to Protect Yourself

Given the severity of the risks associated with cybercrime, it’s essential that you take measures to protect yourself. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Use strong, unique passwords for each of your online accounts.
  • Keep your computer and other devices up to date with the latest security patches.
  • Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources.
  • Use two-factor authentication whenever possible.
  • Be wary of unsolicited emails or phone calls asking for personal information.
  • Use reputable antivirus and anti-malware software.

Final Thoughts

Cybercriminals want your data for countless reasons, going far beyond just the handful of examples listed above. By taking adequate steps to protect yourself online, you can prevent the spread of dangerous malware and phasing scams, shielding those around you from falling victim too.