I was recently the victim of a hack. My identity was impersonated and the information was used to steal my personal data from GoDaddy. How could this happen I asked myself? The cybercriminal got hold of my social security number, used it to locate my credit card number from my bank, then used that credit card number to access my GoDaddy profile by socially engineering a customer service representative embedded at the hosting giant’s offices.
Don’t get me wrong here. I’m a huge GoDaddy fan. In fact, I’ve been with the company for over a decade. And, to GoDaddy’s claim, they did give me a massive account credit to use towards any purchase. Clearly, I won’t have to pay for domains or hosting for a very long time to come. However, it doesn’t feel good being the victim of an identity theft. When it’s a one-off situation, it feels even worse. This wasn’t part of some greater scheme that infiltrated the company to release millions of records of consumers; it was a very personal and private attack.
Now, if you’re thinking that I was silly by not utilizing two-factor authentication, you’d be wrong. My GoDaddy account was two-factor enabled. So what happened here? Aside from a major misstep on the part of GoDaddy to protect my data, which they’ve stated “was an isolated incident caused by human error when a representative failed to follow standard operating procedures,” according to Todd Redfoot, Chief Information Security Officer, there’s a larger question at play here.
The question is, how do you protect your identity from hackers and cyber-thieves who are hell-bent on penetrating and stealing your financial or personal records in an effort to profit or get rich from that data?
Protecting Your Identity From Theft
We’ve heard about major recent hacks in the news lately. From Sony’s epic infiltration to Yahoo’s security debacle and even Target’s woes in the retail space, hacks are happening on a massive scale all around us. It’s constantly in the news. In another article, where I discussed some of the top cybersecurity threats that exist online, I dove deep into all the different ways that criminals can access your personal information and what you can do to protect your identity.
Aside from being prudent, by not getting lured into a phishing scam or becoming the latest victim of a malware, virus or ransomware attack, your options are fairly limited for protecting your identity and personal data from theft. Sure, you could opt to enlist one of many companies that offer 24-hour monitoring services of your identity, alerting you when something seems amiss, but is that enough? Will that stop cyber-criminals who are determined to infiltrate the world’s largest repositories of personal data?
The truth is that it’s highly unlikely that anyone, whether a business or a person, can thwart such attacks. They’re designed and tested to poke and prod the most vulnerable aspects of technology and human interaction. They go after anyone that seems like a lucrative target or companies that successfully market anything online. For those that are determined, it’s clear that virtually nothing can stop them. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take all the necessary precautions that you can to deter such attacks.
But where do you start and even begin? The information handed down to me by some of the world’s foremost purveyors of legal and technological knowledge had a lot to say on the subject. From some of the leading attorneys in the privacy and data security space, to companies that are taking charge in their effort to protect us from prying eyes, there are quite a few options that many people or businesses might not be aware of.