4 ways a thief can benefit from your stolen hardware
What would happen if someone stole your PC, laptop or your smartphone? Obviously, the problem with these devices is that they are filled with sensitive information that we don’t want anyone to see. But what would actually happen if you become the target of a thief and they stole your device?
Well, I’m glad you asked, here are 5 ways a thief can profit from your stolen hardware.
1. Selling your device
Most likely the first thing a thief will do is to sell your device. Getting couple of hundred dollars is not a bad thing. If you take a quick look at EBay, you will find laptop bids that can reach around $600.
The price of an iPhone is hard to find below $600. So you can see how thieves can benefit a lot from selling your devices. It’s also notable that it’s extremely easy to sell a stolen device whether it’s on EBay or somewhere else.
2. Selling individual PC Components
Selling individual components is like selling second hand car parts. A thief can fetch more cash when selling individual components, but of course this depends largely on what he is selling and the condition of it.
For example, a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) has a higher price than a hard drive. GPUs usually sell for $100 to $300 on EBay. But the component that can bring lots of cash is the chassis. They range from $100, to the most expensive case such as the Lian Li Aluminium ATX Chassis, which can sell for over $1000.
3. Blackmailing you
Blackmailing is the best way a thief can profit from stolen devices, but this depends on what info you store on your device.
Last year, Sony fell victim to a scary hacking attack which displayed this warning: “We’ve obtained all your data, your secrets and top secrets. If you don’t obey us, we’ll release data shown below to the world.”
The majority of these attacks are targeted for medical professionals, since their devices are filled with sensitive data about their customers. These customers then become the victims of blackmailing.
While sensitive information that leak is worrying to the victim, sextortion can be the most devastating example of blackmail. According to the FBI, the use of explicit material, whether it is a video or an image, to obtain money from the victim is increasing day by day. This method makes the thief dominate the victim in such ways that victim feels powerless. An example of this was a case of a 24 year old whose laptop was stolen and then was followed by threats to release his NSFW footage. He committed suicide.
The best way to avoid this embarrassing situation is to never store any adult materials of yourself or spouse on your PC, laptop or smartphone. If you do, then make sure you encrypt them so no one can access them.
4. Stealing your identity
Any data that is stolen from you can be useful enough to be sold to the black market, which are priced from $2 to $5.
Your data are usually obtained from either malware installed on your devices or your stolen devices. Of course, we simply love storing passwords and other sensitive information in for easy access. This leaves us very vulnerable to any one who can access those devices.
Identity theft is a very serious problem. Criminals can create credit cards under your name, borrow loans or buy other things that they don’t pay for. Obviously, this will ruin your name and you could face criminal charges. These chargers will take years to clean up the damage.
- How to protect yourself
Falling victim to an identity theft is devastating, and could ruin your life for a long time. Therefore, making sure your identity is secure and safe is crucial.
To keep your data safe, the safest method is encryption.
Always use hard to guess passwords and don’t store them in word documents. You can use encryption based password managers. Encrypt all your sensitive files with a strong password.
And finally, use antiviruses, keep them updated and never download anything from unknown websites. Use encryption to protect your sensitive data and never share any personal details with anyone.
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