UK data being sold on the dark web

Next story
Olivia Storey

If you live in the UK, the chances are, you’ve already been hacked.

The UK National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for cybercrime, Chief Constable Peter Goodman, claims that if you live in the UK then you’ve probably been hacked, and your personal data has already been sold on the dark web.

Speaking at a media briefing on the government’s response to hacks and data breaches, Chief Constable Goodman said that he could almost guarantee that every single person in the UK has been the victim of a data breach. He also stated that all this stolen personal data is held somewhere on the dark web, being sold and traded, and you don’t even know about it.

A typical issue found with data breaches is that no one is informed when a breach occurs, which means the victims don’t even know their private data has been compromised.

In his talk, Chief Constable Goodman admits that he himself has been a victim of a data breach, on three separate occasions. These hacks have led to his name, date of birth, address, and email all being stolen. He describes cybercrime as the "fastest-growing, most complex, difficult form of volume crime we've ever seen”.

Reflecting on this talk Mark James, ESET IT Security Specialist, discusses the effects of data breaches on the average person, and how to protect your personal details.

“There is definitely nothing here that surprises me, the public are often unaware of two key factors of data breaches.

“The first is the fact that almost everyone with some kind of online presence will have suffered a data leak of varying degrees at some point.

“That might be simply an email breach, or the full hoard of private data including DOB, address, phone numbers, and may even include very personal medical history.

“Secondly, how the data breach affects them.

“The average member of public has no real correlation of the consequences of a data breach, how it’s used, and how it directly connects to them.

“We already get so much spam and phishing attacks so ‘does it really matter?’

“Of course the answer is yes, it does matter. Spam only gets binned when it makes no sense, and the human reading or interacting with it realises it is rubbish.

“When it’s something they are expecting, or even to do with a person’s medical condition you cannot always ignore it.

“We often want to trust people and the bad guys know that, they have, and will, use every trick in the book, good or bad to get a result.

“Your data is usually just a stepping stone to the thing they want most - money - using nefarious means to extract your hard earned cash is something they do every day and it’s not going away anytime soon.

“You can help yourself by keeping your devices and computers up-to-date, using two-factor authentication where possible, and not reusing passwords.

“It’s something you hear all the time from ‘professionals’ offering advice, but it really can make a difference.”

How many services that you use have suffered data breaches in the past year? Let us know on Twitter @ESETUK.

Join the ESET UK LinkedIn Group and stay up to date with the blog. If you are interested in seeing where ESET has been featured in the news then check out our ‘In the news’ section.