Data Theft Definition

The unauthorized taking or interception of computer-based information

Data theft is the act of stealing computer-based information from an unknowing victim with the intent of compromising privacy or obtaining confidential information. Data theft is increasingly a problem for individual computer users, as well as big corporate firms.

There is more than one way to steal data. Some popular methods are listed below:

  • E-commerce: You should make sure that your data is safe from prying eyes when you sell or buy things on the Web. Carelessness can lead to leaking your private account information.
  • Password cracking: Intruders can access your machine and get valuable data if it is not password-protected or its password can be easily decoded (weak password).
  • Eavesdropping: Data sent on insecure lines can be wiretapped and recorded. If no encryption mechanism is used, there is a good chance of losing your password and other private information to the eavesdropper.
  • Laptop theft: Increasingly incidents of laptop theft from corporate firms occur with the valuable information stored in the laptop being sold to competitors. Carelessness and lack of laptop data encryption can lead to major losses for the firm.

View the list of Local Resources that can assist Internet users in South Africa.