Common Items That Can Expose You To Identity Theft

Common Items That Can Expose You To Identity Theft

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The advanced nature of cybersecurity means that criminals now have many points of access. These now include previously unthought of items such as children’s toys and even our garbage. Many common items can lead to information or identity theft but are often overlooked because individuals are mostly concerned about the security of their computers, phones, and online accounts.

While it is critical to apply basic cybersecurity practices to your devices, it is also prudent to be aware of additional ways that hackers might obtain access to your personal information.

Here are some common items that criminals can infiltrate to steal your identity and personal information.

Disused Computers And Hard Drives

As large storage containers, hard drives often contain a vast amount of information.

When disposing of a computer or portable drive, the onus is on the owner to not only delete the files that are on it, but to also wipe it clean completely, as any data stored on it may also be found in program and system files. Additionally, if you are still logged into an internet browser, personal data could be at risk as browsers can store credentials, credit card details, passwords and more.

If you are disposing of a device and want to ensure that it has been completely wiped clean, it is best to employ a cybersecurity specialist such as Aryon to undertake this task for you.

USB Storage Devices

USB storage devices such as thumb drives can quite often be found on the top of desks or in top draws. This ease of accessibility makes them a prime target for unauthorised access or theft.

Also, you should never plug an unknown USB device into your computer, as it may contain malware which can infect your device.

Wireless Printers

Many printers are wireless, which means they are attached to your home or office network. While this is convenient, any printer that is connected to the internet can expose your personal information and is a point of risk.

Printers can store sensitive documents, and some people don’t consider this when they are putting their cybersecurity protections in place. This neglect leaves them open to interference, which can be leveraged to breach other devices which are located on the same network. Additionally, the security of wireless printers can be enhanced by keeping their firmware up-to-date and switched off whenever they are not in use.

Old Smartphones

On average, people replace their smartphones approximately every two and a half years, which means that there are a lot of phones not in use, and which also contain private information.

Mobile phones can possess sensitive information, including access to banking and business apps, and they are often synced to one or more cloud services as well. If they are for personal use, they will likely store a significant amount of private information such as photographs and videos.

As such abandoned smartphones can be of great value to a cybercriminal. Second-hand mobile phones can be found in charity shops, pawn shops, or even in the trash, and again, the onus is on the previous owner to make sure that they have been properly cleaned and wiped of all data before they are disposed of.

Children’s Toys

Children’s toys may not be a common source of concern, but the threat does exist and it is real. Electronic animals, smartwatches, and Wi-Fi-connected items are all prone to a cyberattack. For example, previously a widely available Barbie toy was found to be vulnerable due to its Wi-Fi capabilities.

Cybercriminals are aware of these vulnerabilities, and these vulnerabilities can be favoured due to their ease of breach. As a result, adults should be aware of any new internet-connected devices that are allowed into the home, including children’s toys.


As seen above, cybersecurity isn’t confined to only online activities, it can extend all the way to our garbage. Identity theft is a real risk if garbage contains personal information, such as credit card offers, insurance paperwork or old bank statements, as these feature information that criminals can use to undertake identify theft or to commit fraud.

A paper shredder is a helpful tool that can assist in destroying documents that contain personal information before they are disposed of.

Schedule a Cybersecurity Audit And Strengthen Your Security

Schedule a cybersecurity audit with Aryon and we will ensure that your personal information and identity is well secured. Get in touch with us today and we will be happy to help you.

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