As experts in the field of IT security, we know that personal data breaches can stem from the most unexpected sources. While many individuals prioritize safeguarding their computers and cloud accounts, they often overlook the potential risks posed by ordinary household items. While it’s crucial to have robust passwords and antivirus software on your PC, it’s equally important to remain vigilant about other avenues through which hackers and thieves can exploit your personal information.
To shed light on this issue, we present six common objects that criminals can exploit to steal your valuable data.
Old Smart Phones
With people replacing their smartphones approximately every two and a half years, a considerable number of discarded devices accumulate, each harboring a wealth of personal data.
Consider the vast amount of information stored on these small devices—synchronized cloud connections, banking apps, business apps, personal health apps, documents, spreadsheets, photos, and videos.
The advancement of chip technology has amplified the storage capacity of smartphones, increasing the potential value of these discarded devices to data thieves. Disposing of old phones properly is crucial. Before parting ways with them, ensure you erase all data and adopt responsible electronic waste management practices.
Wireless printers have become ubiquitous in homes and workplaces, offering the convenience of remote printing. However, their connectivity to the internet places your data at risk. People rarely consider printers when implementing data security measures, leaving them vulnerable to hacks.
A breach of a wireless printer can grant hackers access to sensitive documents like tax paperwork or contracts and even compromise other devices connected to the same network.
Protect your printers by keeping their firmware up to date, installing updates promptly, and switching them off when not in use. By doing so, you minimize the risk of unauthorized access by hackers.
Have you ever stumbled upon a misplaced USB stick? While the allure of a free storage device or the desire to return it to its owner may be strong, plugging an unknown USB device into your computer poses a significant security risk.
Hackers frequently employ this tactic, preloading malware onto these sticks and leaving them as bait. As soon as you connect such a device to your computer, it can infect your system.
Exercise caution and never plug unfamiliar USB sticks into your computer. Avoid falling victim to this age-old hacker trick.
Old Hard Drives
When disposing of an old computer or removable drive, it’s essential to ensure that all data is securely erased. Merely deleting files is insufficient since personal data can still reside in the system and program files on computer hard drives.
Additionally, if you’re still logged into a browser, various sensitive information such as passwords, credit cards, and browsing history may be at risk.
Seek assistance from IT professionals to ensure a thorough and proper erasure of your computer drive. By doing so, you can dispose of, donate, or repurpose your old device without compromising your personal information.
Identity theft criminals don’t confine their activities to the digital realm—they can also exploit vulnerabilities found in your trash. Be cautious about the information you discard.
Common trash items, such as pre-approved credit card offers and seemingly inconsequential paperwork, can provide thieves with the necessary details to commit fraud or impersonate you.
Protect yourself by shredding any documents containing personal information before disposing of them. This extra step can save you from potentially costly incidents.
Children’s IoT Devices
Electronic toys, smartwatches for kids, and Wi-Fi-connected dolls—these are the toys that cybercriminals relish. Notably, Mattel’s Hello Barbie doll has been found to compromise personal information, with hackers even able to exploit its built-in microphone for eavesdropping on families.
While these futuristic toys may captivate children’s imaginations, their data security often goes overlooked.
Exploiting the perception that these are mere children’s toys, cybercriminals specifically target these IoT devices, recognizing their potential vulnerabilities.
Exercise caution when introducing new internet-connected devices, including toys, into your home. Stay proactive by installing firmware updates promptly and conducting thorough research to determine if any data breaches have affected the toy in question.
Ensure Peace of Mind with a Home IT Security Audit
Don’t lose sleep over the fear of identity theft. Contact us, I.T. ISIN Solutions, today to schedule a comprehensive home IT security audit. Investing in your security will grant you the peace of mind you deserve.