Data Breaches Happen More Often Than You Think!

Data Breaches Happen More Often Than You Think!
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Diamond Garcia-Alvarez, Editor in Chief 2021-2022

On a global basis, 30,000 websites are hacked daily. 64% of companies worldwide have experienced at least one form of a cyber attack. There were 20 million breached records in March of 2021. In 2020, ransomware cases increased by 150% If your data is leaked, hackers can access your accounts and possibly use your identity to their advantage. Confidential information that may be at risk can be your stored banking information, login credentials, e-mails, Social Security Number, and other sensitive information. Online identity theft is more common than you may think. 

 

Ignorance Gets You Nowhere. 

 

To prevent such information from being obtained, be sure to never use the same password for multiple services. If one service you use is breached, you should consider all the accounts using the same password as compromised. When passwords are “hacked”, it is a usual indication that the service you use the pass­word in becomes the victim of a data breach, leaving your pass­word and other personal information possibly exposed. In many cases, users can go for years before finding out that their pass­word has been made public. To mitigate the risk of your online credentials being compromised, use a safe, and strong password. If you would like to know more about passwords, click here to learn more ways to protect yourself online. 

 

Should I Use Online Identity Protection Services? 

 

If you believe that your information has been compromised and you would like to take steps towards protecting yourself, you may use one at your discretion. But the purpose of these services does not protect you. Just like an antivirus, you are still prone to having your credentials leaked if you are not careful. Services such as LifeLock and IdentityForce are seen as marketing-seeking individuals who are willing to pay for an expensive monthly subscription. All that these services achieve is to leverage consumers’ fears of losing their identity. It was determined that these services are more about monitoring or addressing identity theft, rather than preventing it, and most of the features offered are tasks you can do yourself for free as long as you’re willing to put in the effort.

 

So, What Now? 

 

Rather than investing in services that promise that cannot be fulfilled, you can take steps yourself to protect your identity. You can first enable fraud alerts with a credit bureau. When you enable an alert, a business has to verify your identity before issuing credit and will likely contact you. You have to renew these alerts annually. If you do not want to freeze your credit, you should enable fraud alerts. If you have been a victim of identity theft or you live in certain states, you can register for an Identity Protection Pin with the IRS, which adds another layer of security to filing tax returns. If the majority of your accounts reside in the same bank, you can monitor them with the bank’s website or application. Otherwise, review your statements. If you desire to secure your digital life, even more, back up your PC’s hard drive. Be sure to create a restore point if you haven’t done so already. To find out more information on how to protect yourself online, refer to the FCC’s website.