Affected by a Data Breach? Here Are Security Steps You Should Take
We share personal information with companies for multiple reasons: to pay for takeout at our favorite restaurant, to check into a hotel, or to collect rewards at the local coffee shop. While using a credit card is convenient, it actually gives away more personal data than we may realize.
Last week, the hacker, ShinyHunters, leaked information from companies including Pixlr.com, Bonobos.com, and MeetMindful.com. ShinyHunters was also recently identified as the culprit behind leaked databases from HomeChef, online marketplace Minted, the gaming site Animal Jam, and the coupon site Shopback.
Washington State Auditor Breach
ShinyHunters isn’t the only hacker on the prowl. Hackers also recently targeted the Office of the Washington State Auditor (SAO). According to Security Week, hackers exploited a security flaw in SAO’s file sharing service, Accellion, and gained access to restricted files. This incident exposed sensitive data, including bank account numbers, bank routing numbers, Social Security numbers, driver’s license/state identification numbers, and places of employment. When the Employment Security Department (ESD) issued an alert on the incident, they revealed that more than one million individuals might have been affected.
DriveSure, an Illinois-based car dealership service provider found itself victim to a data breach when information from 3.2 million users was published on a hacking forum in late December 2020. The information included names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, IP addresses, car makes and models, VIN numbers, car service records and dealership records, damage claims, and 93,063 hashed passwords. With this type of data, other hackers could target insurance companies and policyholders, as well as break into other valuable platforms like bank accounts, personal email accounts, and corporate systems.
Staying Secure Considering Data Breaches
When a company experiences a data breach, customers need to realize that this could impact their online safety. If your favorite coffee shop’s customer database gets leaked, there’s a chance that your personal or financial information was exposed. However, this doesn’t mean that your online safety is doomed. If you think you were affected by a breach, there are multiple steps you can take to help protect yourself from the potential side effects.
Check out the following tips if you think you may have been affected by a recent data breach or just want to take extra precautions:
1. Keep an eye on your bank account
One of the most effective ways to determine whether someone is fraudulently using your credit card information is to monitor your bank statements. If you see any charges that you did not make, report them ASAP.
2. Place a fraud alert
If you suspect that your data might have been compromised, place a fraud alert on your credit. This not only ensures that any new or recent requests undergo scrutiny, but also allows you to have extra copies of your credit report so you can check for suspicious activity.
3. Freeze your credit
Freezing your credit will make it impossible for criminals to take out loans or open new accounts in your name. To do this effectively, you will need to freeze your credit at each of the three major credit-reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian).
4. Update your password
Ensure that your password is strong and unique. Many users utilize the same password or variations of it across all their accounts. Therefore, be sure to diversify your passcodes to ensure hackers cannot obtain access to all your accounts at once, should one password be compromised. You can also employ a password manager to keep track of your credentials.
5. Consider using identity theft protection
A solution like McAfee Identify Theft Protection will help you to monitor your accounts and alert you of any suspicious activity.
6.Expand your security toolbox
To use your credit card safely online to make purchases, add both a VPN and password manager into your toolbox of security solutions. A VPN keeps your shopping experience private, while a password manager helps you keep track of and protect all your online accounts.