The hyper-connectivity of the internet age has facilitated business, audience and market growth for corporations around the world. It’s also opened them up to new vulnerabilities. According to the Ponemon Institute’s “2017 Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Analysis,” the average total cost of a data breach is $3.62 million.

Globally, cybercrime damages are slated to cost $6 trillion by 2021—a number that doesn’t take into account the significant portion of cybercrime thought to go undetected or unreported. The resulting loss of money, time, productivity and reputation are just a few of the reasons IBM’s CEO Ginni Rometty called cybercrime “the greatest threat to … every company in the world.”

The amount of data hackers can steal is alarming—the perpetrators behind the infamous 2014 Sony breach claimed to have stolen 100 terabytes from the company (200 gigabytes were released to the public). One of the aspects that makes cybercrime dangerous is the innovative ways hackers can extract data from seemingly secure systems, even ones that aren’t connected to the internet.

Despite outwardly impenetrable setups, each year security researchers discover new ways to siphon encrypted data and sensitive materials from such systems. We’ve used their research and real cyberattacks to compile a list of the craziest ways hackers can steal data, below.

Wildest ways hackers steal data infographic


With new techniques that exploit vulnerabilities discovered each year and the amount of technology-dependent business operations rising, cybercrime shows no sign of slowing down.

Additionally, with the number of internet users increasing—research firm Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that 90 percent of the world’s population will be on the internet by 2030, up from the current 51 percent—it’s more likely than ever that the data of everyday users will be exposed.

With cybercrime increasing, it’s more important than ever that users protect themselves from hacks. In addition to basic cybersecurity protection, like installing anti-virus and anti-malware software on desktop computers, users should take extra precautions, like installing a VPN and prioritizing mobile device security.

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