11 Tips to make you safe post Data Breach

Written on October 22, 2018

it’s your responsibility too

Data breach poster

If you were following us for quite some time, we talked a lot about data breaches from various companies.

Companies like Facebook and Google were under fire for massive data breaches that led to privacy concerns around those services.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal was just the start for Facebook. And now, due to vulnerability, about 30 million accounts were compromised. And Google had the same issue which led to fall of Google+.

As said rightly, “With great power comes great responsibility.”.

And it sucks when you realize that something is not right with your account or service you are using which was victim of a data breach.

Here are some simple and easy tips you can follow to stay safe after a data breach has occurred.

Check if your data was compromised

There are many websites which tells you whether your email was included in some data breaches.

There may be multiple services doing this job. Out of them I recommend you to check this haveibeenpwned.com site.

Not just email addresses but also date-of-birth and payment account numbers.

And yes, you need to stay smart to figure out whether the data stolen will cause you harm or not.

For example, if your name was in the stolen data.

The hackers can search for your name on Google. And the further data they get from there, probably will not cause harm to you.

But if sensitive information like Social Security Numbers (Canada), Aadhar details (India) gets into wrong hands, it can be problematic

Change your passwords immediately

Your passwords play an important role in getting access to your accounts.

And same goes for hackers too. If they get your password.

Whether your account was compromised in data breach or not. Change your passwords immediately.

And change passwords immediately. And don’t write your passwords down.

And try your best NOT TO use same password for multiple services. Your Facebook account may get compromised if your Google Account password was stolen.

You can use a Password manager like Dashlane which stores your passwords easily and uses strong passwords.

Try Multi-factor Authentication for extra step of security. This will almost make your account safe from hackers even if they know your passwords.

Configure privacy settings

Services like Facebook provide granular controls over what personal information they have access to.

After data breach they provide more details about data breach and how users can stay safe after that.

Make sure you check all the privacy and security settings that companies such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft provide.

Their services are baked in to the products they provide. Like Google Account settings in Android and Microsoft Account settings in Windows 10.

You can learn more on how to keep your Android devices and Windows 10 devices secure. And Facebook privacy settings here.

Back up your data

Keeping offline backup of your data turns out handy if you don’t want to use a service further.

After GDPR was implemented, most companies have started providing options for you to download your data.

Keep an eye on transactions

If your payment information such as credit card number get stolen, you need to check if there was any transaction made.

There are also legitimate companies who carry out small transactions which may get unnoticed by customers.

Learn more about data breach

You might get information about a data breach from social sites or your friends.

But don’t personally trust anyone who cannot verify who they are.

Ask yourself questions about credibility of the information. Sometimes it can just be fake news.

Avoid offers of help post data breach

After a company was affected by a data breach, there are thieves lying around who will lure you to help you.

They may already have your information from that breach and try to convince you for solutions. And also charge you for that

Many of these offers are fraudulent. Try your own independent research to find a solution.

You may get calls, emails or SMS for that purpose. Just stay vigilant.

Go for credit freeze

This is one of the best ways to make criminals stay away from your credit without your permission.

Credit freeze restrict access to your credit report. This prevents thieves from opening a new account in your name.

If they cannot see your credit report they won’t extend the credit.

After you feel safe, you can temporarily lift a credit freeze or remove it completely.

You can mail or place a phone call to credit bureau to lift the freeze. The credit bureau must lift the freeze if request is made online or by phone and 3 business days by mail.

Consider mysterious emails to your friends coming from your accounts.

Your friends may start receiving emails and messages under your identity.

This is one of the common reasons to know that your accounts have been compromised.

You may be tempted to ignore these things. Thinking someone might have entered a wrong email address by mistake.

Don’t ignore.

Under GDPR, organizations are bound to take responsibility of security of user data.

If your data has been compromised or a breach has caused financial damage, it’s your right to complain and claim for a compensation.

You can complain the company who lost your data.

Also you can raise your concerns to the Information Commissioner’s Office about how the company handled your data.

Additionally you can go to small claims court if need arises.

Stay safe for future

There is no ideal system that will ensure 100% safety of your data.

Whether you are an individual or an organization, learn from your mistakes.

Apart from keeping your systems secure, take security of your personal information seriously.

There need to be a culture among individuals and organizations where data protection is a top priority.

While it may be impossible to avoid next data breach, you need to be prepared and stay ahead of the game.