What Types Of Data are Cyber Criminals Most Likely To Steal?

Daniel Tobok
E: daniel@cytelligence.com

Posted on: November 6, 2017

To effectively protect your organization against cyber criminals, it’s important to understand what types of information and data are being targeted.

The recent disaster at the Equifax credit reporting agency in the United States, which holds personal and financial information on millions of people, including executives and business leaders, is a glaring example of the amount of cyber crime happening worldwide and the importance of data breach response.

Implementing a cybersecurity strategy that works is only effective if it identifies the types of data it’s meant to protect. We’ve outlined some of the most commonly targeted data below.

Staff or Customer Personal Identification

Cyber attackers are targeting confidential staff and customer personal identification information to infiltrate an organization’s network.

Types of personal identification information south by cyber criminals include login credentials, such as usernames and passwords. Gaining access to online platforms and systems are lucrative for cyber thieves because of its value on the black market.

Many companies also have poor password habits, which make it easy for cyber criminals to infiltrate their networks easily. For example, it can be easy to steal any personal information quickly if the same password is being used across multiple accounts.

It’s also key to note that training and protocols on internal permissions and access is equally important. Organizations need to have a secure hierarchy of permissions within their infrastructure and considering hiring a cybersecurity firm to manage those protocols.

Payment data is also popular for reasons that are obvious. Once a thief has its hands on any sensitive credit card or payment information, account information can be compromised quickly, allowing the removal of funds. Also popular among today’s cyber thieves is selling credit card information on the black market for large amount of money.

It’s no longer just movies or music being downloaded from the Internet illegally. More often, thieves are targeting a corporate copyrighted materials, such as business strategy, client lists or software.

Classified information consists of any number of things related to a business that it wishes to keep quiet, including the development of new technologies, product ideas or security information. This data is highly valuable and in the wrong hands, can cost your organization a lot of time and money to resolve.

Corporate spies and foreign companies or governments are eager to steal trade secrets for their own gain. Piracy is also a problem for intellectual property theft, but more important information like patent pending designs, technological processes, engineering techniques and other information about products and services that are tightly held secrets.

As is true with espionage in the corporate world, governments also have to worry about being corrupted or intruded upon by hackers or other cyber threats. Recent political campaigns in the United States were a major focus of press reporting, with allegations of Russian led attacks on the Democratic National Convention to sway the 2016 Election. Companies and individuals often contract with the government and have a great deal of access to sensitive information and even classified information.

Data Security Risks Are at an All Time High

The pace at which technology moves today makes it critically important for an organization to be aware of any potentially sensitive data. Implementing effective safeguards requires an understanding of the types of data most commonly guarded.