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You wouldn’t think a child’s toy could lead to a breach of your personal data. But this happens all the time. What about your trash can sitting outside? Is it a treasure trove for an identity thief trolling the neighborhood at night?

Many everyday objects can lead to identity theft. They often get overlooked because people focus on their computers and cloud accounts. It’s important to have strong passwords and use antivirus on your PC. But you also need to be wary of other ways that hackers and thieves can get to your personal data.

Here are six common things that criminals can use to steal your information.

 

Old Smart Phones

People replace their smartphones about every two and a half years. That’s a lot of old phones laying around containing personal data.

Just think of all the information our mobile phones hold. We have synced connections with cloud services. Phones also hold banking apps, business apps, and personal health apps. These are all nicely stored on one small device.

As chip technology has advanced, smartphones have been able to hold more “stuff.” This means documents and spreadsheets can now be easily stored on them. Along with reams of photos and videos.

A cybercriminal could easily strike data theft gold by finding an old smartphone. Make sure that your company is properly cleaning any old work phones by erasing all data. You should also dispose of them properly. You shouldn’t just throw electronics away like normal garbage.

 

Wireless Printers

Most printers are wireless these days, this means they are part of your home or work network. Printing from another room is convenient, but the fact that your printer connects to the internet can leave your data at risk.

Printers can store sensitive documents, such as tax paperwork or contracts. Most people don’t think about printers when putting data security protections in place. This leaves them open to a hack. When this happens, a hacker can get data from the printer and they could also leverage it to breach other devices on the same network.

Protect printers by ensuring you keep their firmware updated. Always install updates as soon as possible and you should also turn it off when you don’t need it. When it’s off it’s not accessible by a hacker. 

How does your company handle patching their devices? If you don’t know, chances are it’s performed nearly enough. All Databranch Comprehensive Care and Foundation Security clients have scheduled automatic patching and Windows updates on their devices. Visit us here to learn more about how we can help take this off your IT plate.

 

USB Sticks

Did you ever run across a USB stick laying around? Perhaps you thought you scored a free removable storage device. Or you are a good Samaritan and want to try to return it to the rightful owner. But first, you need to see what’s on it to find them.

You should never plug a USB device of unknown origin into your computer. This is an old trick in the hacker’s book. They plant malware on these sticks and then leave them around as bait. As soon as you plug it into your device, it can infect it.

 

Old Hard Drives

When you are disposing of an old computer or old removable drive, make sure it’s clean. Just deleting your files isn’t enough. Computer hard drives can have other personal data stored in system and program files.

Plus, if you’re still logged into a browser, a lot of your personal data could be at risk. Browsers store passwords, credit cards, visit history, and more.

Need help disposing of your old office devices? Reach out to Databranch today for assistance, we can help clean your computer to make it safe for disposal, donation, or reuse.

 

Trash Can

Identity theft criminals aren’t only online. Thieves are known to sort through trash in search of documents containing personal information. Be careful what your employees throw out in the trash.

It’s not unusual for garbage to enable identity theft. It can include voided checks, old bank statements, and insurance paperwork. Any of these items could have the information thieves need to commit fraud or pose as you.

A shredder can be your best friend in this case. Your company should shred any documents that contain personal information, for yourself and your clients. Do this before you throw them out. This extra step could save you from a costly incident.

 

IoT Devices

Smart lightbulb, thermostats, and security cameras… all toys that hackers love. Even Mattel’s Hello Barbie was found to enable the theft of personal information and a hacker could also use its microphone to spy on families.

These futuristic gadgets make life easier and can be found in many offices. Owners might think they’re cool, but they might also forget to consider their data security. After all, it’s just a smart printer. But that often means they can be easier to hack, so cybercriminals will zero in on these IoT devices knowing they aren’t going to be as hard to breach.

You should be wary of any new internet-connected devices you bring into your office. Install all firmware updates and do your homework to see if a data breach has involved the toy. 

 

Schedule an IT Security Audit

Don’t let the thought of identity theft keep you up at night. Contact us today at 716-373-4467 x115 or [email protected] to schedule a chat about IT security audit. Databranch also offers Dark Web Monitoring where we scan the dark web based on your domain and find all accounts that have been involved in a breach. Request a free Dark Web scan below to get started.

 

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.

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