Data breaches are becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s society. When your data is breached, your personal and oftentimes confidential information is stolen for multiple purposes. These thieves can obtain access to your Social Security Numbers, bank account information, credit cards and other information they can use to profit at your expense.
In 2019, the number of records exposed in data breaches has increased by a staggering 52%. Whether your information is being obtained by data leaks, business hacks, or from Facebook, it is becoming increasingly difficult to secure private files.
How Do Data Breaches Occur?
Breaches occur in multiple forms, and for multiple purposes. Cybercriminals may want to hack your personal accounts to gain access to a wider network of individuals, or to find confidential information within your accounts. They may hack your personal computer files and hold them hostage for payment. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Below are some things to look out for to ensure data breach prevention.
1. Misuse of Insider Information
When individuals within an organization have access to your information, they can sell it to cybercriminals for a large profit, similar to insider trading. Be aware of the information stored in any business databases.
2. Card Skimmers
Card skimmers are placed over credit card readers and copy your credit card information to be sold to other users. These users are able to make purchases using copies of your accounts before you can even realize. If you are suspicious, try to jiggle a card reader at a gas pump, ATM, or anywhere else you can swipe your credit card. If it is removed easily, there is a large possibility that it is a skimmer.
3. Web Application Attacks
Be on the lookout whenever you submit an online application. When creating accounts, or applying for a service, you are oftentimes entering your personal information like your name and home address. Be aware of the websites you are accessing and ensure that they are legitimate and secure. An easy way to check if a website is secure is to see https at the beginning of the URL, instead of just http.
What Can YOU do?
It’s important to practice good habits to secure your confidential information. Shred any documents that list your personal information at your place of work. I know how frustrating it is to keep altering your login information, but it’s necessary to protect your information. Use strong passwords with randomized symbols and specialized characters. Additionally, use different passwords for different accounts, and keep them secured in a small notebook that can only be accessed by you. Make sure to monitor your credit card and banking accounts to ensure accuracy. DO NOT give out your account information to anyone.
If you feel your information has been compromised, place a freeze on your credit by contacting all 3 credit bureaus. They can be accessed through annualcreditreport.com. Stay safe and be aware of the dangers out there.
For more data breach prevention/ID theft tips, check out our blog: