5 Ways You Didn’t Know Hackers Could Steal Your Information

8 June 2015

As more and more of our lives are centered around web-connected devices, we are all becoming more vulnerable to hacking. Most people are aware of the usual ways that hackers get ahold of the personal information of their victims — for example, sending phishing emails that download malware onto your computer or lead to a fake company website that asks you to enter in your information. However, there’s a whole new world of ways to hack into people’s private lives opening up, some of which you might never anticipate.

Here are a few of the ways you may have never heard of that hackers can use to access your information:

  • Through your connected car. It’s increasingly common for new cars to include features like remote keyless entry, wireless tire pressure monitoring and cellular connections that link to your smartphone. Although these features certainly make for increased convenience, they might also pose a security threat for drivers. As of right now, it’s still extremely difficult to hack a car, but cyber criminals are developing more sophisticated techniques by the minute, and eventually might be able to access your phone and all its data through your car’s wireless network.
  • Through the office copy machine. High-tech copiers and printers often store information about documents they receive, which can include confidential company information. What’s more, if a copy machine is hacked, it can be used to access the other computers with which it shares a wireless network. Companies have already had this happen in several cases. “When your copier is talking to Eastern Europe in the middle of the night, you know there’s trouble,” an online security consultant told The Hill.
  • Through your kids’ toys. It’s not just adults who are at risk of identity theft. In fact, children’s identities are attractive to cyber criminals because children have clean credit histories, making it easy to conceal misuse of their identities until they come of age, start trying to apply for loans and credit cards and realize their credit is already ruined. As it becomes more common for toys to be able to access the internet, cyber criminals are taking note. For example, the “Hello Barbie”, which records its conversations with children and responds based on previous conversations, has caused controversy due to its potential to reveal sensitive information if stolen or hacked.
  • Through your office’s chat software. If you work for a company that uses a chat system like HipChat or Slack, any information stored on office computers may be vulnerable to hacking. Both of the aforementioned companies have reported falling victim to hackers in the past few months, revealing names, usernames, email addresses and phone numbers to the thieves. The best thing you can do to try to prevent this is to change your passwords often.
  • Through your TV. Newer smart TVs have come under scrutiny because they provide an opportunity for hackers to access customers’ information through their wireless connection and even rig webcams to spy on the TV set’s owners.

In an increasingly connected world, it’s more important than ever to sign up for a credit monitoring service to alert you to certain types of activity on your credit file that might help you realize if fraud has taken place.