Hackers Have Stolen Company Data. What Will They Do Next?

First, it’s worth stating that you are not alone. According to Forbes, around 30,000 websites are hacked every day. Some of the world’s most prominent companies and brands, like Home Depot, Target, Equifax, Wendy’s, Delta, and the health insurer Anthem have experienced major data breaches. Hundreds of millions of people in the U.S. alone have had personally identifiable information, such as passwords, PINs, health records, and credit card information, compromised or stolen.

STARNet has previously written about the steps you and your business can take after bad actors obtain personal information from your website. And, there are plenty of proactive steps you can take to minimize the chances of your company falling victim to hackers and cyber criminals. To better understand potential vulnerabilities in your data protection schemes, though, it might be useful to know what, exactly, cyber criminals commonly do with stolen information.

Embarrass Governments or Organizations

Suspected hackers allegedly receiving support from the Russian government have received considerable media coverage during the past few years. U.S. officials have repeatedly accused foreign actors of disrupting or attempting to disrupt oil refineries and other facets of critical infrastructure. And, many cybersecurity experts have concluded that Russian hackers breached servers of political groups in 2016 in attempts to influence the outcome of that year’s U.S. presidential election.

Hold Your Data for Ransom

If hackers are able to retrieve sensitive data from your company’s website and encrypt it, they might demand a substantial chunk of change for you to get the data back. If your business falls victim to ransomware, expect to pay around $84,000 if you plan on appeasing the hackers. Around one-third of companies pay the ransom demand of hackers, and it’s best to speak with cybersecurity and legal professionals before deciding whether you should pay up.

Sell Data on the Dark Web

Organized criminal groups are responsible for more than half of all data breaches that occur each year. Usually, the motivating factor for these hackers is money. Depending on the type of data hackers can offer potential buyers, selling the stolen information can be quite lucrative. Medical and financial information are among the more expensive data sets offered on the dark web, which are commonly paid for by Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies that are relatively difficult to track.

After Selling Your Data

There are various ways that buyers of sensitive personal information may attempt to profit from the stolen data. Some may try to start credit cards in your company’s name while others might file bogus tax returns or false Medicare claims. The possibilities for hackers and dark web buyers to profit off of stolen data are seemingly infinite.

What Can STARNet Do to Help?

STARNet is a global network of legal representatives who have unique and rare skills related to finding and recovering stolen data. We have stellar professional relationships with a number of cybersecurity experts in the civil and criminal spaces who can get to work for your company at a moment’s notice. For more information, reach out to the STARNet alliance member closest to you.

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STARNet, which is short for Stolen Asset Recovery Network, is a global alliance of independent law firms created to provide financial institutions and governments with multi-disciplinary services across countries and jurisdictions for locating, freezing, and ultimately recovering stolen assets related to cyber heists, fraud or corruption.

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