'Hunted' star, Ben Owen, reveals how hackers 'get into your mind' to access your data

  • Ben Owen told ITV Channel how hackers can dupe people and organisations into parting with sensitive information.

The star of Channel 4 series 'Hunted', Ben Owen, has revealed how hackers can use someone's "online footprint" to access their accounts and private data.

The intelligence expert has appeared in the UK, US and Australian versions of the hit show.

He is visiting the Channel Islands this week offering local businesses cybersecurity advice, including how to avoid falling victim to scams.

Ben's visit comes after several warnings of online scams being identified across the bailiwicks in recent weeks.

Ben Owen has brought his skills, seen here on Channel 4's 'Hunted', to the shores of the Channel Islands. Credit: Channel 4

Ben told ITV Channel how hackers obtain your data: "I think hunting down fugitives on a TV show is all about getting into someone's mind and the event that we're doing in Guernsey and Jersey is all about that individual digital footprint.

"What you have online as an individual social media, say emails, maybe breach password passwords, they are really looking at the individual and finding out what they've got.

"Once we know what's online about someone we can almost counteract and know what that fraud might be, how the attacker might approach you and that kind of stuff."

How you can better protect your information online:

  • Do not open random links from emails

  • Always check for slight changes in email addresses or phone numbers

  • Use multi-factor authentication to protect your email and important accounts

  • Double-check any requests for payments and updated bank account details by calling the person or company directly to check

  • If in doubt, call Jersey Police on 01534 612612 or report it online

Many islanders have turned to social media to market their own businesses, but this comes with a risk of data breaches.

Ben explained: "It's about individuals using online accounts and signing up for subscriptions, post-pandemic, everyone's at home, getting bored, downloading stuff and subscribing.

"But really understanding that the bigger online footprint you have, the more of a target you would be.

"We always say as a recommendation to the individual is understand what is out there and try and lessen your digital footprint as best you can."

One of the main talking points from Ben's lectures is having businesses realise that keeping your data secure is a simple task - which more people should be taken seriously.

He said: "It's about really boiling it down and not overcomplicating cybersecurity because attackers are trying to get in your mind. Actually, they're hacking your mind not technical equipment.

"This isn't someone sitting in a basement hacking into a mainframe. This is hacking you as a person based on what is online about you.

"So if you boil it all down, take the technical jargon out of the way, it's actually quite simple. They're just trying to trick you and that's what they're getting really good at and that's what we're trying to raise awareness about."

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