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Your digital footprints could help hackers infiltrate computer ...

Lifestyle

Your digital footprints could help hackers infiltrate computer networks

All phishing attacks require info on targeted people, and this can be obtained from online internet activity

Ravi Sen

When you use the internet, you leave behind a trail of data, a set of digital footprints. These include your social media activities, web browsing behaviour, health information, travel patterns, location maps, information about your mobile device use, photos, audio and video. These data are collected, collated, stored and analysed by various organisations, from the big social media companies to app makers to data brokers. As you might imagine, your digital footprints put your privacy at risk, but they also affect cybersecurity.

As a cybersecurity researcher, I track the threat posed by digital footprints on cybersecurity. Hackers are able to use personal information gathered online to suss out answers to security challenge questions like “in what city did you meet your spouse?” or to hone phishing attacks by posing as a colleague or work associate. When phishing attacks are successful, they give the attackers access to networks and systems the victims are authorised to use.

Phishing attacks have doubled from early 2020. Their success depends on how authentic the contents of messages appear to the recipient. All phishing attacks require certain information about the targeted people, and this information can be obtained from their digital footprints...

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