Horror stories and creepypastas can be intriguing, especially when building upon established lore by talented writers and artists worldwide. However, those stories can be ten times as scary when you know their events have already happened in our world. In the digital age, most of them fall within the domain of hacking and data leaks.
Several incidents have been made into cautionary tales for those unaware of the situation. Here are three spooky stories involving data breaches and digital privacy that might help you understand the vulnerability of current systems. Moreover, we also highlight a few methods that can help protect your data privacy when using the internet.
1. Uber Data Breach of 2022
In 2022, a data breach occurred within Uber’s internal servers. An 18-year-old crisis actor got hold of an employee’s credentials and sent several login requests to the central server. After receiving no response, he impersonated an IT employee and asked one of the workers through WhatsApp to authorize that his login was legitimate.
Soon after, he got a hold of all the accounts on the server, which included information on the Uber drivers, customers, and employees of the company. He began sending creepy messages over Slack. Some of the most disturbing messages were about him stating why unsecured connections can lead to crime and the abysmal pay of drivers.
This story becomes more horrifying when you realize that Uber has a shady history of hiding information about data breaches. There was a data breach in 2016, and Uber’s cybersecurity chief, Joseph Sullivan, tried to hide evidence related to it. He didn’t report the incident to the authorities or the FTC. Although he did face severe consequences three years later, it’s a reminder that those working in big tech care more about their image than the integrity of the data stored with them.
2. Dark Web Marketplace for Hacked accounts
Studies highlight how susceptible social media users are to getting their data stolen. It detailed a dark web marketplace that sold social media accounts for as low as $6. A person involved in the study completed a cryptocurrency transaction, receiving access to every relevant service for just $127.
The study also reports that most accounts were compromised through phishing attacks and social engineering. Some even had payment information linked to them, which could be used to commit fraud or launder money without the owner’s approval.
3. BRP Data Breach
BRP was a well-known company that manufactured recreational vehicles like snowmobiles and ATVs. Hackers engineered their way into the company’s internal servers and installed ransomware that locked out access for all employees.
After negotiations broke down between the company’s executives and the hackers, the employees’ personal data was released online. Some of it contained sensitive information, forcing many who worked at the company to change their identities. The company went bankrupt a few months later.
How To Protect Your Data Privacy Online
Given the gravity of the situation, it helps to arm yourself with a few methods that help protect your digital privacy online. You can find them detailed in the section below.
Don’t Open Unknown Links
Phishing attacks often occur with hackers sending malicious links to unsuspecting victims. So, you should never open an unknown link, especially those sent by unknown people or services online. Instead, you can use a link checker to verify its security. There are several you can find online for free.
Use a VPN When Surfing the Web
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) diverts your system’s internet connection to a secure server from anywhere else in the world. That means your internet traffic gets encrypted, meaning no one can see what you do while connected. Furthermore, a VPN for PC can change the IP address of your computer, making you more anonymous.
Install an Antivirus
Your Windows or Mac computer needs updated information to counter all cyber threats. Installing a third-party antivirus that utilizes advanced security protocols and receives updates daily is best. It can verify whether any data packets perform suspicious operations and alert you if a virus gets activated on your system before it does more significant damage.
Most hackers today don’t have state-of-the-art systems to hack into secure servers. Instead, they use social engineering to contact personnel with access, manipulating them into giving up the credentials. That’s why you should always keep your two-factor authentication (MFA) personal. Never give out OTPs or verify authorization from unknown login events, even if it’s someone claiming to be close to you. Furthermore, ensure that you choose a secure 2FA method.
Reading or listening to spooky stories about data breaches and digital privacy can bolster online privacy. It’s not just for yourself but also your coworkers, friends, and family to pay attention to such tales. You never know when they might become the next victims and must take drastic measures to regain their everyday lives.