Earlier this afternoon, PLDT’s Twitter account for customer support got hacked. Reactions were mixed. Some users were enjoying the schadenfreude, taking in the pleasure that the company they loathe for its supposed abysmal Internet services got what it apparently deserved.

But here’s an alarming, sad truth: a company’s misfortune from a hacking incident is everyone’s problem.

Far-reaching consequences

You may think that a hacking incident may not affect you, but these unauthorized access into the resources of large businesses and companies can have far-reaching consequences.

Going back to what happened to PLDT, the company in its response to the incident claimed that only its Twitter account was compromised, that its network and services were not affected.

Should you feel assured? Tons of Twitter users don’t think so. Since it’s a customer service account, plenty of private information shared via direct message (DM) were possibly compromised, too.

Possibility of stolen private information

And so if you’ve made correspondence with a company that got hacked, any personal information and details you shared with the company via direct message or any form of communication are at risk.

Recall those times you’ve mentioned your name, account number, contact number and other info to confirm to the company representative your account and your identity. The possibility exists that the hackers may have scoured your messages during the hack, and they may have obtained enough personally identifiable information to commit identity theft. 

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Identity theft can ruin you financially

Identity theft, or using your info without your consent and knowledge, can be used for many things that benefit the hackers at your expense. Hackers commit identity theft because they want to advocate a political agenda and/or to disrupt your routine. Sometimes, they do it just because they can. 

Or, since many hackers are eager to generate profit, they might sell your information on the Dark Web so other criminals can exploit your data. With your stolen information, criminals can gain access to your bank, social media, and other accounts.

In extreme cases, they can even fool a bank representative to transfer money from your savings. They can log into your social media account and look for sensitive content such as explicit photos that they can use to blackmail you. They can create new accounts in your name, make expensive purchases and transactions, and leave you high and dry with debt. Can you imagine the possibilities?

Are you compromised?

There’s no surefire way of knowing your information is compromised. Often, you’ll only know when you’ve been victimized, when someone has already exploited your data and made profit with it.

There’s a useful website—Have I Been Pwned?—that can indicate if security breaches of major companies have put you at risk. Then again, its scope is limited to the breaches it is aware of. Hacking incidents and data breaches sadly occur more often than they should, and many remain unreported or undiscovered by authorities.

Consider it as a warning

Instead of making fun of a hacking incident, you need to consider it as a reminder to keep your online data secure. Otherwise, you risk losing money and ruining your life by hackers. Hacks should remind you to be vigilant and to share as few personal information as possible online, especially when not required.

That’s it for now. Did we miss anything? If you have something to add, let us know in the comments section below.

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