Hacks, ransomware attacks, and data breaches are increasingly making headlines, and more and more people are receiving alerts notifying them that their information has been compromised. In light of these incidents, cybersecurity experts emphasize that it’s not a matter of if, but when, individuals will face a notice of compromised data. However, there are steps you can take to protect yourself in the wake of a data breach and prepare for future incidents.One of the first actions you can take, even if you haven’t received an alert, is to check if your data has been breached. Websites like HaveIBeenPwned.com offer free services to check if your information has been compromised and provide details about what has been put at risk. Additionally, consider signing up for notifications about future breaches involving your email address.If your credit card number is involved in a breach, it’s important to contact the company and inform them of the situation. It might be wise to inquire whether changing your card number or canceling your card altogether is recommended. You should also contact credit reporting agencies such as TransUnion and Equifax in Canada to alert them about the breach and monitor any suspicious activity that could impact your credit score.Companies that have experienced a data breach may offer free credit monitoring services, which you should take advantage of. It’s also essential to request credit monitoring for your children if they were affected, as their personal information could be exploited to apply for credit cards.Keep a close eye on your credit card statements for any unusual activity, as it could be a sign of identity fraud. If you suspect that you have become a victim of identity theft, you can request a fraud alert or credit freeze to be placed on your accounts. It may also be worth contacting your insurance agent or broker to inquire about coverage for identity theft or related expenses.Changing the passwords of any affected accounts is crucial. It’s recommended to ensure that all your passwords are different, as using the same or similar passwords across multiple accounts makes you vulnerable to attacks. Utilizing a secure password manager can help you keep track of your passwords. Alternatively, if you choose to write them down, use cryptic hints rather than the passwords themselves.Keeping your software and applications up to date is vital for maintaining security. Software companies often release patches and security fixes, so running the latest versions reduces the risk of vulnerabilities. Whenever possible, enable two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA) for added security. Despite the inconvenience, the extra layer of protection significantly enhances your security.When making online payments, consider using services like PayPal instead of directly entering your credit card information. This helps prevent your credit card number from being widely spread in case of a breach.Following these common-sense practices can go a long way in protecting yourself from cyber threats. Remember that cybercriminals tend to target the easiest victims, so taking proactive steps to enhance your security will make you less vulnerable. By being diligent and implementing these measures, you can better protect your personal information in the face of data breaches and cybersecurity incidents.
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October 20, 2023
October 20, 2023