What techniques hackers use to spoof your identity and how to protect yourself
We are providing more and more personal information about ourselves to the Internet. This information, without adequate security and privacy measures, can fall into the hands of any user, who can ignore it or can collect it to use it later for other purposes, for example, to impersonate the identity.
On the Internet there are a large number of hackers, users willing to do evil, who seek to collect the greatest amount of private information about users so that they can use it in their favor or, in the worst case, sell it on the market black to the highest bidder.
The 5 most used techniques to impersonate identity
The techniques that these hackers use to get hold of users’ private data are very varied, the most common being:
Spy on social media
Social networks allow us to be constantly connected with our friends and acquaintances. Every time we tend to publish a greater amount of personal information on these social networks, for example, name and relevant dates, photographs, family and sentimental links, etc. This information is very valuable for any user interested in impersonating a user and, in fact, it is the source most used by hackers to collect as much information as possible and both sell it and use it to impersonate on the Internet.
If we want to prevent this from happening, we must configure the profiles of social networks as private and only allow users that we expressly accept to access said data. Obviously we must only accept people we know or trust to access our profile.
Some scammers or hackers use social engineering to trick the user into providing them with certain information, usually sensitive. A very common example of this is when a scammer pretends to be our bank so that we can provide him with our data and, if possible, our account number.
We must avoid falling into this type of scams by avoiding providing personal data over the Internet (for example, on social networks or through spam emails) or through phone calls.
Analyze old hard drives
If we have an old computer or hard drive, even if we erase the data, it usually remains hidden there, being very easy to recover it with any forensic analysis tool.
If we want to prevent our old computer from providing information about us, we must carry out a secure erase (Low-Level Format) to the hard drives before handing them over or, much better, destroy them with hammer blows or by drilling several holes in them with a drill. In this way we ensure that our data will never fall into the wrong hands.
Destroy hard drive to erase identity
Spy on users with malware
Another way to spy on users and collect personal information about them is by using malware, specifically spyware or Trojans. These malicious tools usually collect all kinds of data about the user that they find on the affected computer and send it to a server controlled by the hackers in such a way that they can use it for their own benefit or sell it to any interested party.
To protect ourselves from malware, we must make sure that we have both the operating system and all the software with the latest security patches, as well as modern antivirus software and with the latest forms of viruses installed. In addition, we must avoid downloading and executing files both from our email and from web pages of dubious origin.
Use voice scams
An increasingly used technique thanks to digital voice synthesizers is scams over the telephone line. Hackers and scammers pose as different companies or government organizations in order to ask us for different personal information or to conduct surveys to collect as much information about us as possible.
To avoid falling for these scams, we simply must avoid providing personal data to people we do not know.