The PC security industry is having a bad year. After several major virus scares, millions of stolen passwords, and countless other security issues, the world of computer security took another hit today. A recent study revealed that personal data companies are willing to pay more money for your personal information than ever before.
It’s normal for some organizations to know a little bit about you. The government needs to know your personal information for obvious reasons. However, a new ‘personal data economy’ has emerged that makes it easier than ever to sell personal information online. This has led to a sharp rise in identity theft as more and more cybercriminals try to cash in on this personal information economy.
Who’s paying for your information?
There are a number of groups out there willing to pay good money for your information, including advertisers, marketers, ad networks, social media websites, and online tracking companies. Organizations like this are willing to buy virtually any information about you – from your birth certificate information to the pages you like on Facebook.
Together, these groups buy, sell, and trade personal information just like any other asset. Some use your data for relatively innocent purposes – like compiling your credit score. However, other people use it for more malicious reasons, like to send you bulk spam emails or to steal your bank account information.
Take a quick look at services like Intelius and Spokeo. These websites combine your offline records – like official birthdate, last name, and citizenship – with your online records in order to create a comprehensive database of personal information.
These ‘people search’ websites are becoming increasingly complex. Many of them have now developed the ability to scan through social networks for your information, or harvest details across all of your online accounts.
Why should you be worried?
You should be worried because it has never been easier to find somebody’s personal information online. If you make the right person angry over the internet, they can track down everything there is to know about you – from the brands you like to your favorite relative.
In addition to fuelling personal vendettas, people search websites like this also make it easy to steal somebody’s identity. Trying to guess somebody’s secret question on their bank account used to be difficult. Now, a simple search on these people websites can turn up all of the information you need to know. Whether the secret question asks where your mother was born or what your favorite dog’s name is, all of this information can be found by tech-savvy people online.
Protecting yourself from identity theft malware
Ultimately, in an age where our personal information is being freely traded, the best thing to do is protect yourself with a good identity theft service. Or, if you don’t want to subscribe to a service like that, at least install anti-malware software that can protect your computer from keyloggers and other dangerous types of viruses.
PC Cleaner Pro can help remove malware from your computer. Download it today by clicking HERE.