Most cyberattackers cast a wide net, hoping to snare as many fish as possible — but there are bigger fish that cyberattackers tend to be angling for. The goal of cyberattacks is to take as much money and valuable data as possible from a victim, and certain victims make it easier for criminals to get away with the goods. If you have succumbed to what feels like more than your fair share of cyberattacks, you might be making yourself a prime target in the following ways:
You Are Wealthy
Wealthy people have more for a cyberattacker to take when they successfully infiltrate systems and accounts. From the criminal’s point of view, they don’t want to waste time, energy and other resources getting past security measures only to gain a few bucks. If they know a certain person has a large cache of valuable assets — like a hefty savings account or a packed crypto wallet — they are much more likely to target their efforts on that person over someone with fewer goods to steal.
If you are wealthy, you should avoid flaunting it online. You should avoid posting about your earnings or savings or uploading images of you in expensive clothes or with other costly items. As little as a stranger can decipher about your material wealth, the better.
You Aren’t Tech-savvy
The less a person understands about how digital technology works, the less likely they are to know how to avoid compromising their devices and data. People who are competent with tech tend to innately know how to craft a strong password, how to identify a dangerous message or website, how to install and run trustworthy internet security tools and other useful practices for staying safe online. Most cybercriminals don’t try to fool tech-savvy users or force their way past strong defenses; instead, they tend to go after users who clearly aren’t as confident using digital tech, who are more likely to give attackers an easy way in.
It doesn’t take much effort to become skilled enough at technology to thwart cyberattack. You can take online courses in cyber hygiene to shore up your knowledge and ability, and you can ask your more tech-savvy friends and family to help you improve.
You Are Transparent
Some people hardly post anything to their social media, which makes it extremely difficult for cyberattackers to understand whether they are worthy targets or not. Meanwhile, some people are extremely active online, posting nearly every detail of their lives. They might share details about their birthdays, the names of their pets and loved ones, information about their work and childhoods — all of which can be useful to a cyberattacker.
Social media is a convenient and fun way to connect with friends, family and strangers, but you should be exceedingly judicious about what you are and aren’t willing to post online. If something could be used to defraud you, you might want to keep it a secret from the internet.
You Are Older
Unfortunately, cybercriminals almost always target older users because they tend to fall into all three of the above categories. Older people have enjoyed more time to accumulate wealth, and their lack of familiarity with modern technology tends to make them more likely to share private and sensitive information online.
You don’t want to fall into the stereotype of the older person who is frequently a victim of cybercrime, but your age will automatically put you at greater risk of attack. You should work doubly hard to overcome your tech ignorance and take full advantage of available cybersecurity tools, especially as you continue to grow older.
You Work for a Target
You might not be the ultimate target of a cyberattack — but your employer might be. Because organizations have dramatically more valuable assets for cybercriminals to steal, businesses are succumbing more frequently to larger and more devastating attacks. It is easier to infiltrate a business’s cyber defenses through its weakest link: employees.
You are most at risk of this kind of attack when you are connected to your employer’s network or using a company device. Still, you should avoid posting about your employer online, even when you are at home using personal devices, as you don’t want to be the way into a major corporate hack.
By knowing more about why cyberattackers could be targeting you, you gain the opportunity to change your online behavior to reduce your risk. Being a target isn’t the same as being a victim, and with the right tools and techniques, you can stay safe online.