- Hackers are stealing digital data and selling it in underground markets.
- Identity theft is carried out by planting malware in the victim’s computer.
- AIIMS Delhi recently faced a cyber-attack that compromised the sensitive information of millions of patients.
Sensitive data from at least five million people worldwide, including 6 lakh Indians, was hacked and sold on the bot market. According to reports, nearly 12% of all data sold in bot markets so far belongs to Indian users, making India one of the worst affected countries by cyber identity theft.
According to a recent NordVPN study, data from 6,00,000 Indians, including logins, cookies, digital fingerprints, screenshots, and other information, was stolen and sold on the bot market. Hackers are said to have sold one person’s digital identity in packets for an average price of $5.95 (approximately Rs 490).
NordVPN researchers tracked digital data for four years, beginning with the launch of bot markets in 2018. What exactly is the bot market? In a nutshell, it refers to online marketplaces where hackers sell stolen data. Bot malware is used to target victims and hack their digital identities and information.
The report is concerning for India, which is already dealing with serious cyber security issues. Multiple servers at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) were recently brought down by days-long ransomware attacks. According to reports, the ransomware attack exposed the personal information of millions of patients.
How hackers steal digital data information
Hackers use malware to steal victims’ private and confidential information in order to monetize and sell it via direct use or underground distribution. Malware is installed on the victim’s computers in order to access data directly from the device. Malware can take the form of spyware, remote administration malware, or brute-force passwords.
Hackers install this malware on victims’ computers by visiting infected websites and sending malicious attachments or links via email. Other vulnerabilities used to access victims’ information include keyloggers, screen scrapers, spyware, adware, backdoors, and bots.
How to prevent your device from malware
To safeguard your sensitive data and prevent your device from any malware attack in the future, here are some tips you can follow:
- Keep your computer and software updated as companies like Apple and Microsoft frequently release new updates.
- Use a non-administrator account whenever possible. This will prevent you from installing unnecessary apps.
- Always download data from trusted sources and never click on suspicious links.
- Always scan emails and never download or open any if you suspect them or receive them from an unknown person.
- Never click on pop-up windows that ask you to download software.
- Always use antivirus software and scan your system frequently.