Protect Yourself: Beware of Identity Theft Risks Posed by Common Everyday Objects

It may be surprising, but even a child’s toy can become a source of personal data breach. Similarly, your outdoor trash can unwittingly become a treasure trove for identity thieves lurking in your neighbourhood. While people often focus on securing their computers and cloud accounts with strong passwords and antivirus software, it’s essential to be aware of other potential avenues hackers and thieves can exploit to access your data. In this regard, here are six everyday objects that criminals can leverage to steal your information.

Disposing of Old Smartphones Securely

With people upgrading their smartphones every two and a half years, many old devices are left behind, which can contain sensitive personal data.

Think of the data stored on your smartphone, from synced cloud services to banking, business, and health apps. The advances in chip technology have allowed smartphones to store more data, including documents, spreadsheets, photos, and videos.

An old smartphone can be a goldmine for cybercriminals, especially if it ends up in a charity shop or the trash. To prevent data theft, it’s crucial to erase all data before disposing of old phones. Additionally, it’s essential to dispose of electronics properly instead of throwing them away with regular garbage.

Risks Posed by Wireless Printers

With wireless printers becoming commonplace, they are now part of home and work networks, making it convenient to print from any room. However, connecting to the internet also means that these printers can pose a data security risk.

Printers can store sensitive documents, including tax paperwork and contracts, making them vulnerable to hacking. Unfortunately, people often overlook printers when implementing data security measures, making them an easy target for hackers who can access the printer and breach other devices on the network.

To protect your printer from being hacked, keep its firmware updated by installing updates as soon as possible. You should also turn off the printer when it’s not in use to prevent access by hackers.

The Risks of Using Unknown USB Sticks

Have you ever encountered a USB stick lying around and thought you hit the jackpot by finding a free removable storage device? Or maybe you’re a Good Samaritan looking to return it to its rightful owner, and you need to check what’s on it to find them.

However, plugging a USB device of unknown origin into your computer is never a good idea. It’s an old trick in the hacker’s playbook to plant malware on these sticks and leave them around as bait. Immediately after you plug it into your device, it can infect it and cause harm.

The Importance of Properly Disposing of Old Hard Drives

When disposing of an old computer or removable drive, it’s crucial to ensure it’s clean. Simply deleting your files is not enough since computer hard drives can store other personal information in the system and program files.

Moreover, if you’re still logged into a browser, your data could be at risk as browsers store passwords, credit cards, browsing history, and more.

To securely erase your computer drive, it’s best to seek assistance from an IT professional. This makes it safe for disposal, donation, or reuse.

The Importance of Protecting Your Personal Information in the Trash Can

Identity theft criminals are not just lurking online. They can also be found trolling the neighbourhood on trash day. It’s essential to be careful about what you throw out in your trash.

Garbage can enable identity theft since it may contain pre-approved credit card offers, old bank statements, voided checks, insurance paperwork, and other items that have the information that thieves use to commit fraud or pose as you.

A shredder is your best friend in this case. Before throwing out any documents that contain personal information, make sure to shred them first. Taking this extra step can save you from a costly incident.

Children’s Internet of Things (IoT) Devices

Toys are no longer just dolls and action figures. With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), children’s toys are now connected to the internet. While these toys may seem harmless, they can be a goldmine for cybercriminals.

For instance, Mattel’s Hello Barbie is vulnerable to data theft and could even be used to spy on families through its microphone. Despite these concerns, parents may not consider the security implications of these IoT toys, assuming they are just toys.

However, these devices can be relatively easy to hack, making them a target for cybercriminals. When purchasing these toys, it’s essential to research their security features and any past data breaches. Regularly update the firmware on these devices to ensure they are as secure as possible.

Sleep Better at Night with a Home IT Security Audit

Don’t lose sleep over the fear of identity theft. Take action and schedule a home IT security audit today. Our experts can assess your current security measures and identify any vulnerabilities in your devices or network.

You can secure your personal data and enjoy greater peace of mind by taking proactive steps. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact Qamba now to schedule your security audit.

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