Today’s digital age has allowed people to be more interconnected, share more information, and stretched our capabilities for innovation in ways dystopian literature couldn’t even have imagined. You think Aldous Huxley could have predicted the advent of Yelping the best tasting empanadas within a ten mile radius? (Okay fine he probably did).  Well, as increasingly dependent we’ve been when it comes to our relationship with various technologies, devices, clouds, and screens, a couple cyber hacker stories this week have caused many to second guess the information that’s exchanged over the once thought even playing field of internet and data storage.

This past Sunday, Hollywood and celebrity culture was rocked with a photo scandal that is now considered the biggest celebrity hacking incident of all-time.  Over 100 actresses, including Jennifer Lawrence and Kirsten Dunst have been reported having personal photos and information made public on sites such as 4Chan, known to some as the “the darkest corner of the web“.  One such actress, Mary Elizabeth Winstead was quoted as saying the private pictures she took with her husband were “deleted from her account years ago”.  She also brought up the question of whether anything can truly be scrubbed from the cloud or internet.


Even if your the biggest star on the planet, it doesn’t mean you are any less venerable when it comes to cyber crimes. (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

For those of us who aren’t featured on the covers of glossy magazines or have people dressing like them for Halloween,  it doesn’t seem to impact us.  We may just chalk this up to celebrity culture and the continued lack of privacy this digital age and news cycle has allowed them to have. However, another recent cyber crime can be much more concerning for “normal” folks.

Home Depot may be the latest large-cap company to “pull a Target” or become victim of credit card breach.  In the last week, thousands of credit cards have cropped up on “carding sites”. This is thought to be the work of eastern European hackers, the same group that infiltrated Target’s security system last year.

Home Depot Credit Card Fraud

Cyber hackers may have had credit card access for months. Source: AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Both stories directly impact different target markets, but offer a glimpse into how easy it is in this age to bring down any person or corporation with just a few clicks.

These hackers could be called anti-investigators for their deductive approach in getting the information they desire, though for obvious nefarious and highly illegal purposes. 


(Source: Experience Project)

Getting access to such information is much more simplistic then one may presume.  In the case of card breaches, it usually consists of a basic malware programs that store and forward information, according to private investigation experts.

In terms of how such programs were attached to the systems in the first place, the celebrity scandal can provide one such example of how this occurs.  Investigators believe hackers access to information was based on methodically deducing the actresses passcode information, and not a complete infiltration of ICloud.

Private investigators offer solutions in both scenarios, including two-step passwords, making unique, “back-up” answers, and using chip cards without the magnetic strip.

Fraud investigators are attempting to catch individuals by gathering facts and working backwards. Though not easy to find these virtual criminals, whether your a corporation, an A-list celebrity or someone with a stolen identity, private investigators will use continuously evolving and innovative methods in catching these criminals.