Your Identity Has Been Hijacked! Here’s How to Get it Back

Mike Philbert
5 min readAug 30, 2020

Before the dot com era people valued privacy and the ability to control their personal identifiable information. A simple, “it’s none of ya business!” was a data protection strategy.

Today, routine tasks have been digitized such as banking, paying bills, investing, shopping, and social interactions. People unknowingly relinquish valuable data as a cost of doing business. According to, the data industry is valued at 169 billion dollars and is expected to grow to 274 billion by 2022. This invisible marketplace has been powered by user interactions on the internet as small files called cookies collect user activity, pixel tracking identifies where mouse pointers hover the longest, geolocation information is tracked and user data is collected with the intent of selling your digital identity for-profit and targeted marketing. You have unknowingly been turned into an Xbox avatar with 1.7 megabytes of data inputs collected per second or, 53 terabytes per year, to create an ultra-detailed digital identity that you do not control.

As we become more integrated into the digital world with connected devices even more intrusive data is being collected, such as psychographic and behavioral patterns, which are being monetized for various purposes.

How does it feel to unknowingly be someone’s asset in a multi-billion industry and not make a dime?!

The legal activity of selling the data of internet users is not even the most impactful event as we exchange information in an uncontrolled manner. Bad actors count on user complacency so that they can use available data to craft targeted attacks. In an act called Phishing, attackers aim to leverage user-specific knowledge to craft malicious content to transmit malware via email. This malware can achieve many compromises such as installing keyloggers, installing ransomware, stealing sensitive data, creating backdoors for persistent attacks, or even physically destroying a system. Think about the security information often requested when setting up a new account: