Hackers and data theft: everything you need to know to defend yourself

Secure data removal, protection from cybercrime on the network and defense against scam mail, to create an anti-hacker vault

The exponential innovation of the online world never sleeps, always ready to evolve to give birth to new features to every user of the network.

In this scenario, therefore, we face a struggle between good and evil:

  • on the one hand, we have the entire cyber security department that improves day by day, increasingly equipped to combat digital threats;
  • on the other hand, there is the dark side of the coin, namely that of cybercrime, which is also constantly evolving to better bypass the progress made in the field of security.

It is a battle as old as time, and certainly not born with the advent of the net. Law enforcement agencies have always invested in their own growth to defeat crime, while outlaws have always found new ways to evade the progress made by their enemies.

The big difference is instead in the damage that can be done through the Internet today; with a simple laptop and a connection, cybercrime is capable of creating huge problems to a number of people impossible to attack in the offline world.

And the cases of cybercrime over the decades have been many, some solved within a day, others so serious as to endanger the privacy and money of dozens of millions of users.

So although cyber security never sleeps, the same goes for crime and its progress. It is therefore a good idea for ordinary citizens to know how to create barriers to self-defense, through tricks, precise indications, minimal knowledge of the field and awareness of what is happening around it.

How to really delete all the data from the devices

Have you ever sold/butted a personal electronic device with a memory inside?

And if so, what did you do before you put it back on the market/trash it?

  1. you deleted the data manually;
  2. you saved the data and reset it;
  3. you followed the entire formatting procedure of a pc/Smartphone.

On average (and unfortunately) the most quoted answers are the number 1 and 2, and too rarely go down to 3. This is because most of those who use these technologies do not know the real dangers that can be encountered in this environment.

When a personal device is no longer in their hands, they automatically create dangers, which will be greatly reduced if the right procedures are adopted.

In general, when you decide to change your laptop, you must be aware that you have to delete all tracks of yourself from memory, saving everything somewhere else.

So it won’t be enough:

  • putting items in the trash can and emptying them;
  • copy and paste the data to an external memory;
  • formatting.

Each of these steps requires more care and attention, otherwise the price to pay could be really high. Here is the perfect procedure to delete data from your PC and be serene.

What about Smartphone  instead? The situation gets even more complicated.

This is because, on average, the amount of sensitive information to the whole of the phones is much greater than the brothers with keyboard, including contacts, messaging, multimedia and dozens of account accesses.

So if you have to be careful for the laptop, here is a top priority; in fact, you must prevent any malicious person to retrieve personal information of the previous owner.

Because in case it happens, you could face a compromise of fundamental accounts, such as:

  • Google, with its cloud
  • social media
  • email

If a stranger were to succeed in getting some of these portals up and running, the whole of digital security would be compromised. Then find out what to do before selling a Smartphone by deleting your digital avatar.

Business data removal

Not only individuals need to be aware of the fate of digital data, but also businesses. On the contrary, it can be said that in this case the interest must be even higher, because the consequences will be paid by the users involved, which can be a few dozen for small companies as well as millions for multinationals.

When a business has to get rid of user information, some particular processes are required that go beyond the classic steps seen before for laptops and Smartphone.

This is because none of those processes guarantees a 100% elimination of what was present, thus leaving a constant glimmer of breach, a situation that a company cannot afford, also considering the new rules introduced by the GDPR in Europe.

There are 3 processes to follow for the final deletion of files:

  1. Overwriting
  2. Demagnetization
  3. Physical Destruction

The first two involve digital work on storage equipment, while the third… in the true sense of the word. It’s not uncommon to destroy storage media to make sure they don’t leave traces, but this too has to be done according to certain criteria.

If you are interested in the subject, we recommend that you find out more about how to delete data for business.

The dangers of the network

Until now, the Internet has not been at the centre of the possible problems of the digital world; this is to make it clear that you can have it even if you live your entire life offline.

Entering the web instead, you have to imagine it as a planet outside the Earth, where there are some safe and protected areas, without the possibility of danger, while others dominated by the spirit of the far west.

But in general, the rule is never to lower your guard, because the pitfalls could also be in completely unexpected places.

Collection #1 was recently discovered: a database containing over 770 million email addresses and 21 million passwords, stolen from unsuspecting network users worldwide. And like this, there are many more online, mainly stored in the part of the Internet called the Dark Web.

Anyone could be one of the victims of this attack without even knowing it. We wrote an article in which we explain how to find out if your email and password have been stolen and what to do accordingly if you were to be part of the group of robbed.

Attacks like these are very difficult for ordinary users to avoid, but you can still prevent them with some techniques:

  • use a VPN to move over the network, so as to avoid being tracked;
  • be careful when using public Wi-Fi, because it could be a fake or it could have been hacked;
  • encrypting sensitive data, so even if it were stolen, it will be (almost) impossible to access it.

And if it seems so, it’s not over yet. Because according to statistics, more than 70% of hacker attacks on private devices start from a scam mail.

It is therefore of vital importance to know how to defend yourself from email scams so as not to fall into the trap of those who live on the losses of others.

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