9_Celebrity hacking

It’s one thing to be pursued by fans and paparazzi. It’s another thing when hackers are on your tail.

Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian and other well-known names got a taste of a new cybercrime called “doxxing” when their sensitive information, including financial details and photos, was posted to a Russian website. Read more about it here.

Your financial stats and pics may not be as enticing as a pop star’s, but this is a good opportunity to take steps to protect your identity online. Here are some tips from our experts:

Q: In a world where the intimate details of our lives are more public then ever, how can we safeguard their privacy?
A: We live in a culture where we overshare: We post everything from our children’s photos to our so-called secret vacation spots. Connect with friends, but don’t leave yourself vulnerable to attack. Limit what you share on Facebook and Twitter.

Protect computers and smartphones with the most up-to-date security software, so hackers can’t gain access to electronic files. To keep intruders out, connect to the Internet through a properly configured firewall, keep administrative names and passwords updated and private, and set wireless networks to “no broadcast.”

Regularly check credit reports to make sure thieves haven’t gained access to your financial accounts. Get a free credit report here. Also, consider buying an inexpensive credit and public records monitoring program. Fraud monitoring allows you to check public record databases for any suspicious activity.

Q: How common is it for information to be sold on the Internet? What can I do about it?
A: In most cases when a celebrity’s data is stolen, or when large amounts of sensitive data are stolen, it’s peddled through black market sites. After the hacker uses the data, it’s often difficult for police to track down the crooks.

Law enforcement can pursue the websites that post stolen information. Unfortunately, many of these sites are based in other countries, requiring collaboration with international authorities.

Q: Does being in the public eye make people more vulnerable to identity theft?
A: Yes, but it’s easy to put some protections in place:

  • •    Vet the people you work with. Part of the hiring process should include a security assessment of advisers and support staff. Run background checks on anyone who might have access to your personal information or financial statements.
  • •    Encrypt all email and data. Keeping your data safe includes securing your smartphone. Make sure your phone has an app to encrypt all stored data.
  • •    Create a rigorous set of privacy and security protocols. Limit access to your computer to those you truly trust, and use restrictive permission levels to protect sensitive files. Have a team of experts in place to help in case your identity is stolen. Contact insurance agents, banks and credit unions to see if there are programs available to help you through an identity theft disaster. Often identity management services are available at no cost or at a minimum charge, as a perk for being a member or account holder.

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