9/25/23, Yom Kippur: UES & SOHO repair centers are closed / Midtown will be open

3 Methods That Hackers Use to Steal Data

With social, financial, business and political communications more reliant upon the internet than ever before, hackers are having a field day. Huge amounts of sensitive and exploitable data is produced and left unguarded in email accounts, unencrypted cloud storage and messages. Here are three ways that hackers exploit weaknesses to steal sensitive information. 


Ransomware is a particularly nasty way that hackers can coerce individual organizations to hand over money and data. It is a form of malware that uses threats of destruction or exposure to convince people to part with cash or sensitive information. The most widespread kind of ransomware is devilishly simple. It encrypts all of the files kept on a system and offers an ultimatum to the user: give us what we want or your files will be deleted forever. The most notorious ransomware ever unleashed originated in North Korea and was intended to gather funds and information to sustain the crumbling hermit state. At least in terms of stealing money it was hugely successful: North Korea managed to accumulate $316 million by distributing ransomware. 

Spear Phishing

Spear phishing is usually conducted over email. A hacker will send an email purporting to be from a reputable source. The email will contain a link, which when clicked will prompt the victim to enter their personal details. These details can then be used to gain access to the victim’s data. The most famous spear phishing attack in recent years was the 2016 Democratic National Committee email hack. DNC staffers were tricked into clicking a link that purported to lead to a page of election statistics. Their log-in details were stolen and thousands of very sensitive documents were leaked. Malware was also installed onto the DNC computer system. The hack is believed to have originated in the Russian Federation.

Because of how effective spear phishing can be, it is extremely important to plan an effective Email Security strategy. There are plenty of cybersecurity firms out there that can offer software and training to businesses and organizations looking to sure up their email security. 

Exploiting Unsecured WIFI

Some of the biggest data thefts in history have been achieved by exploiting unsecured WiFi. 72 percent of business data breaches come as the result of hackers making use of unsecured internet services. Well-drilled hackers can easily access the internal databases of companies through their WiFi. One of the biggest data thefts of all time was committed by a lone gang of hackers that infiltrated the internal storage system of the retail giant TJX through their unsecured WiFi. They stole over 45 million customers’ card details. It is important to secure your WiFi with a password, no matter how safe you think you are from being exploited by hackers. 

If you are running a business that stores any customer data, it is especially important to encrypt your WiFi signal. Groups of hackers have been known to literally drive around retail areas searching for unsecured wireless internet signals.  Please be sure to protect your company with a sound IT support security strategy.

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