Cyber security

What security steps to take after being affected by a data breach?

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Suppose you receive an email from the company you work with that experienced a data breach and your information may have been compromised. What will you do? Thankfully, there are some steps you can take straight away to minimize or neutralize the effect.

But the real question is how does the information get collected in the first place itself? At the same time, we share our personal information with companies for numerous reasons right from the first day-like checking into a hotel, collecting rewards at the local coffee shop, and more. And because we use our credit cards or debit cards in online transactions that easily track our purchase history. 

In simple words, these days we leave our valuable data wherever we go, which is of high value to cyber attackers.

Data Breaches are Unfortunate

Whether it is a major data breach that compromises millions of records or any other small-scale breaches that involved healthcare providers, each one gives us the reminder that data breaches happen regularly and the chances of all of us getting affected are high. Depending on the type of data breach and the kind of information you have shared with the company, any of the data breaches will include the following:

  1. Passwords and usernames
  2. Contact numbers, home addresses
  3. Email addresses
  4. Driving license number or social security number
  5. Credit or debit card details
  6. Purchase histories

But what do hackers do with this information? A lot of things. They can sell the data to criminals or they can misuse your credit card or debit card details and drain all your bank accounts, claiming tax refunds, or medical expenses.

Some examples of data breaches in recent years. 

Facebook – 2019: Two data sets exposed the records of more than 530 million Facebook users including their information like phone numbers, Facebook IDs, account names.

Marriott International – 2018: The information including emails, phone numbers, addresses, passport numbers, date of birth was exposed for more than half-million guests. 

Equifax – 2017: 147 million records were exposed that included information like social security numbers, driving license numbers, passport numbers, credit card information as well. 

What steps to take after a data breach?

1.  Keep a regular check on your credit cards and bank accounts:

One of the most significant ways of determining whether someone is misusing your credit cards or other related information is to check your statements. If you notice any charges that you didn’t make, report them to your credit card company immediately. Those companies have processes to handle such frauds. 

2. Report to Local Authorities or FTC:

You can file a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) identity theft report. This will be extremely helpful if someone uses your confidential information like your social security number to conduct some fraud. Moreover, FTC can guide you through the entire identity theft process. 

3. Report a Fraud Alert:

If you notice some suspicious activity on your data, immediately place a fraud alert. This will ensure scrutiny of your requests and provide you with additional copies of your credit so that you can keep a check on all the suspicious activities. 

4. Update your passwords:

Ensure your passwords are strong and different. Most of us use the same passwords across different accounts. Make sure that you use different passwords so that cyber attackers cannot access your accounts at once after stealing your one password. 

5. Always use Identity theft protection:

This will help you monitor your accounts and alert you if noticed any suspicious activity. Such solutions are capable of monitoring several types of personally identifiable information, alerting you if stolen, and guiding you on how to neutralize the effect.

 

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