What is Data Diddling and How It Threatens Your Cyber Security?


I’ve spent years working in cyber security, and although we’re constantly fighting new threats, there’s one that I find particularly insidious – data diddling. It’s a sneaky technique where hackers manipulate data without being detected, leaving your personal information – and your money – vulnerable. The worst part? You may not even know it’s happened until it’s too late. So, what is data diddling exactly, and how can you protect yourself? Let’s dive in.

What is data diddling in cyber security?

Data diddling is a common technique used in cybercrimes that involve the manipulation of data with malicious intent. This technique involves intentionally changing, deleting, or inserting false data into an organization’s computer systems or documents. It is often used by hackers, insiders, or malicious actors to steal sensitive information, commit financial fraud, or other malicious activities. Here are some common examples of data diddling:

  • Manipulating financial records: One of the most common types of data diddling is financial fraud. Criminals use data diddling techniques to modify financial records to conceal their activities and avoid detection.
  • Changing customer records: Hackers use data diddling techniques to change customer records to gain access to sensitive information. For example, they might change the email address associated with a customer account to gain access to their email and steal personal data.
  • Deleting or modifying critical data: Malicious actors might delete or modify critical data to disrupt business operations or blackmail an organization. For example, they might delete a critical file system or modify database records.
  • Data diddling can have serious consequences for individuals and businesses alike. Organizations must implement robust cybersecurity measures to prevent data diddling attacks. This may include employing advanced data monitoring and analysis tools, restricting access to critical systems, and regularly testing their cybersecurity policies and procedures.

    ???? Pro Tips:

    1. Develop a thorough understanding of data diddling techniques in cyber security, and ensure that your team is well-informed of these malicious practices.
    2. Regularly review and update your security measures, particularly when it comes to data handling and access controls.
    3. Be vigilant for signs of data diddling, such as unexpected changes to data records or anomalies in user behaviour.
    4. Educate all stakeholders, including employees and customers, on how to protect their data from potential diddling attacks.
    5. Have a robust incident response plan in place in the event that data diddling does occur, including clear guidelines on how to report and address any suspicious activity.

    Overview of Data Diddling in Cyber Security

    In the world of cybercrime, data diddling is a technique that is frequently employed to manipulate electronic data. This occurs when a user intentionally enters incorrect data into a computer system, or other device. Data diddling is usually utilized when individuals and businesses are seeking to conceal a portion of their earnings to avoid tax.

    The process of data diddling involves data manipulation, often through the use of sophisticated software, to modify values, transaction dates, and other critical information. Data diddling is a significant cybersecurity risk as it can lead to financial loss, non-compliance penalties, and reputation damage.

    Types of Cybercrime Using Data Diddling

    There are various types of cybercrime that employ data diddling as a technique. These include:

    • Phishing attacks: This is when cybercriminals obtain sensitive data such as login credentials, credit card details, or bank account information by masquerading as a trustworthy entity. Phishing attacks often use emails that contain links to fake websites, login pages, or attachments carrying malware. Data diddling could be used to manipulate the details on these fake sites and, in turn, deceive users into providing sensitive information.
    • Payroll Fraud: This type of cybercrime occurs when an employee or an outsider manipulates payroll data to divert funds from the organization. Data diddling is often employed to misrepresent hours worked, change tax withholdings, or modify employee names or bank account details.
    • Tax Evasion: As mentioned earlier, tax evasion is a common type of cybercrime that utilizes data diddling. Cybercriminals may manipulate earnings, underreport sales, or overstate expenses to reduce the amount of tax they owe.

    Consequences of Data Diddling in Cyber Security

    Data diddling can lead to a wide range of cybersecurity risks, including:

    • Financial loss: Cybercriminals can manipulate data to divert funds or steal sensitive financial information. This could result in serious financial consequences for the organization or individual affected.
    • Non-compliance penalties: Organizations that manipulate data risk penalties and fines from regulatory authorities. This could result in significant legal fees, financial penalties and negative publicity.
    • Reputational damage: Organizations whose data has been manipulated can suffer damage to their reputation. Data diddling can result in a loss of customer trust, decreased sales, and negative media coverage.
    • Security breaches: Data diddling can be used to introduce malware or other forms of cyber-attacks into computer systems and networks. These attacks could result in significant damage to the organization, including stolen data or network-wide shutdowns.

    How to Detect Data Diddling in Cyber Security

    Detecting data diddling in a computing system can be difficult. However, there are several methods that organizations and individuals can use to identify suspicious activity:

    • Regular audits: Conducting routine audits of systems can help identify suspicious activity or unusual patterns of data manipulation.
    • Log analysis: Analyzing logs of system activity and user behavior can help organizations identify anomalies in data or system usage.
    • Data validation: Ensuring that data entered into computer systems is consistent and accurate can help mitigate data diddling. One way to validate data is to employ biometric authentication methods such as fingerprints, facial recognition, or voice recognition.

    Preventive Measures of Cybercrime Using Data Diddling

    Organizations and individuals can employ various preventive measures to avoid falling victim to cyberattacks using data diddling. These include:

    • Employee training: Organizations can ensure employees are properly trained to identify and prevent cybercrime, including data diddling. Educating employees on how to recognize phishing attacks and how to maintain best practices when handling sensitive data is critical to preventing cybercrime.
    • Antivirus and firewall protection: Installing antivirus and firewall software can protect against malware and other forms of cyberattack that could be introduced through data diddling.
    • Regular backups: Conducting regular backups of critical data mitigates the impact of any attacks that could occur, and can help organizations return to normal operations quickly.
    • Strict access control: Restricting access to sensitive systems and data and using multifactor authentication can minimize the risk of an attack.

    Real-Life Examples of Data Diddling Cyber Attacks

    There have been several high-profile cases of data diddling in the recent past. One of the most notorious cases occurred in 2014 when Sony Pictures Entertainment fell victim to a cyberattack that resulted in the exposure of sensitive data. Hackers employed data diddling to manipulate sensitive data such as personal employee information, internal emails, and movies that had yet to be released. The attack resulted in widespread damage to Sony’s reputation and incurred significant financial losses.

    Another example occurred in 2018 when Marriott International Inc. experienced a data breach that resulted in the exposure of approximately 500 million guests’ data, including passport details and credit card information. The hackers employed data diddling to manipulate the data to conceal their tracks and evade detection, resulting in significant legal penalties and damage to Marriott’s reputation.

    Legal Implications of Data Diddling in Cyber Security

    Data diddling is a serious cybercrime, and those who engage in it face severe legal consequences. In the United States, under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), data diddling crimes are punishable by fines, imprisonment, and damages. The various state laws in the US and international law–such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), have strict data protection and data privacy regulations that impose legal and financial penalties for data diddling. The legal implications of data diddling are severe, making it essential for organizations and individuals to take preventive and protective measures to minimize the associated risks.

    In conclusion, data diddling is a common but dangerous technique used by cybercriminals to manipulate electronic data. It is critical that individuals and organizations employ preventive and protective measures against such crimes to avoid the associated damages. Identifying suspicious behavior, strict access control measures, regular backup, employee training, and antivirus protection are among the few measures that can help prevent cyberattacks using data diddling.