A new scamming trend is emerging and may make use of your family photos. Consumer Bob looks at how you can protect your valuable pictures from scammers.
Hackers will look for anything they can turn into cash.
Sometimes they are looking for the obvious, login names, passwords and banking information. But the hackers of the future could be looking through your personal photos.
"We don't know what they're trying to do with those images," said Stephen Cobb with ESET Security, "but it's an indication of where future attacks may be coming."
Cobb says there is already software, a data stealer, that can target photographs. The pictures can be lifted from a computer hard drive and transferred to another her site. Scam artists can then look through those photos for information they can use to make money.
Ashley Hayek is a military wife who says she not surprised that those photos can reveal personal information.
"I think that everyone is looking for the next way to make easy money," said Hayek, "why not use your pictures?"
Today smart phone cameras are used to transfer and store financial information from checks to receipts. In the hands of a scammer, that information could lead to a serious security breach.
Jennifer Goldsmith is concerned that her friends are not careful enough with their personal information.
"There are definite privacy issues and I feel like a lot of people my age don't take that into account," said Goldsmith.
But it is not just financial information that hackers could be looking for, Stephen Cobb says they could also be looking for potential porn.
"You could be seeing the first stage of an attempt to go out there and siphon pictures, process them in some automated way to find out which ones are salacious and then use those for content in adult sites," said Cobb.
Stephen Cobb says parents need to teach their children about the gravity of taking suggestive or lewd picture with a smart phone or keeping them on a connected computer. Hackers will look for ways to get into any device to steal pictures or personal information.
Cobb isn't saying that people should stop taking digital pictures or putting them on popular sites like Instagram and Facebook but they need to think before they shoot.