What To Do After a Data Breach?
Data Breaches Have Reached Epidemic Proportions
Security breaches are becoming more and more prevalent and on a larger scale as hackers gain expertise and, some would say gumption. From Target, Home Depot, and Ashley Madison to major credit cards companies that were hit, just taking a brief look backward at the last few year’s headlines will reveal an uncomfortably large number of hacks and infiltrations. And, we’re not talking about small fries either. Major corporations were hit left and right in some of the most scandalous security leaks in history. A few of the latest data breaches that really raised hairs were:
- Hewlett-Packard had a messy data leak that involved private information about American Naval personnel
- 5 million Weebly accounts were hacked in October 2016
- Even the American Department of Health and Human Services took a hit in April when a device carrying personal records including social security numbers, medical records, and birthdates of 5 million citizens was stolen
- Yahoo’s security system being compromised by hackers in September of last year. This was said to be the biggest breach in the history of attacks, affecting more than 500 million user accounts.
Data Breach 2017 – Latest Data Breach Reports
In terms of data breaches, 2017 isn’t shaping up to be any better. The most calamitous and far-reaching data breach 2017 has felt so far is the Equifax breach. More than 143 million people had their private information stolen when this top name credit reporting firm was hacked. The latest data breach statistics show:
- $80 billion in losses in 2016
- Global ransomware costs alone are to exceed $5 billion this year
- A projected $6 trillion in damages by 2021
These are some pretty big numbers and should make any thinking person give pause to ponder what their next move should be.
What to do After a Data Breach
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, which is why smart consumers are starting to take precautions to protect themselves against a data breach. But, sometimes it’s too little too late. Here’s what to do after a data breach occurs to get yourself back up and running faster:
- Change all passwords. Select strong passwords that aren’t easily guessed or manipulated by algorithms designed to crack codes. This means using a combination of numbers, characters, and upper/lowercase letters. Also, try to avoid common dictionary words, and don’t use any obvious information like your address or pet’s name.
- Figure out what was taken. From your street address to your social security number, find out what was stolen, so you know what to be aware of and what needs to be replaced/changed/canceled.
- Get in touch with your financial institutions and credit bureaus. From banks to credit card companies and stores, get in touch and let them know what’s going on. Cancel any cards associated with your accounts and put a freeze on anything that can be accessed in another way. Also, contact the major credit bureaus and have your credit frozen. An alert will also be placed on your cards/accounts, so you’ll see if the hacker tries to use it.
- Use protective technology and services. Protective services can use tools like encryption, password managers, and firewalls to keep your private information safe. Take your own precautions with technology like lock screens on mobile devices and two-step authentication for online accounts.
Data Breach Protection Services
To keep yourself safe from the latest data breaches, subscribe to a reliable data protection service. Here are a few reliable ones that we can recommend:
“I love Dashlane — it makes managing my passwords and on-line purchases so easy. Sign-in once and you are set for the day.”
A robust and thorough password manager, Dashlane also branches out to secure other important information such as credit cards and various forms of ID. Enjoy easy browser integration and cloud syncing, too.
Dashlane offers a limited free version or a premium version for $20/month.
“I am giving four stars for the easy to understand, logical, and trouble-free yet thorough way IdentityForce works.”
IdentityForce offers affordable group protection so that you can secure your entire family against identity theft with one package. Additionally, they offer up to $1 million of insurance coverage, personal information monitoring, and power of attorney.
IdentityForce has plans for as low as $12.95/month and a 30-day free trial.
“IDWatchdog implements extra layers of certifications and personnel training to ensure your personal information stays protected.”
While they have some pretty great tools for prevention like black-market monitoring, reimbursement insurance, and email/SMS alerts, IDWatchdog’s biggest benefit is that it will help you for past identity fraud and theft. That’s totally unique in the industry and a major plus for people who experienced a data breach years ago and are only finding out about it now.
IDWatchdog plans start at $14.95/month.
“I was very happy with all that the agent did for me and I want to say thank you very much!“
IDShield provides some excellent data breach preventative measures including passport monitoring, social media channel watches, and $5 million in insurance, the highest in the industry.
Plans begin at $9.95/month.
“Privacy Guard is a comprehensive credit reporting, credit monitoring and identity theft protection service that helps you maintain control over your most critical information.”
Privacy Guard covers all the bases for data breach protection. With a Privacy Guard subscription, members get daily credit report scans, monthly credit reports, and an easy to manage user dashboard so you can even monitor your credit on your own.
Privacy Guard offers subscriptions for $19.99/month which includes all their tools and a 14-day trial for just a dollar.