No one likes a hacked account, regardless if that is an email or bank account. A hacked account can result in financial loss, identity theft, or just a whole lot of wasted time. Not only is it a headache to clean up the aftermath of a breach, but restoring information security is a large task. Unfortunately, you don’t have too much control over what is or is not hacked. All you have control over is how you respond. So, if you happen to find yourself on the receiving end of a data breach, here’s what you should remember to check.
Your login credentials should be changed as quickly as possible. The sooner you get around to doing this, the better off you’ll be. Changing your passwords before anyone gets inside your account can give you the upper hand. If the hacker has only key-logged an old credential, even if they manage to save your usernames, it won’t do them any good. Those credentials will be old at that time and the username and password combination will send them back to the drawing board.
When criminals hack their way into a database by duping someone to click a link or open a file that has malicious software, they can gather a great deal of sensitive information if you don’t have the proper cybersecurity. One of the things they will likely gather is your email address. And surprisingly, if they have your email address, they don’t need much else to send a convincing phishing email socially engineered to trick you. Knowing this, you need to be wary of any emails you receive from a company after they’ve been hacked. Think twice about clicking links, downloading attachments, or fulfilling any requests – even if it looks 100% legitimate.
Utilizing simple email phishing paired with malicious software downloads, a hacker can gain access to a multitude of information about you after a breach. If they have enough of the right information, they can potentially steal your identity. After a breach, monitor your credit report carefully. Depending on the severity of the breach and the type of company breached, there might be free credit monitoring services offered, however, if there aren’t, you can always create a free account on reputable and secure pages like Credit Karma.
Finally, if you have financial information tied to any personal account, whether it be a website you shop or saved credit card information on Google, then you’ll have to keep a close eye on your bank statements. In the event of suspicious activity, you may have to replace any credit cards linked to a specific bank account. Breaches don’t just occur on websites like Target and Amazon – where purchasing products is the sole purpose. It could be a site like LinkedIn, which gives you the option to pay for a higher-level membership.
In closing, if you know that you are at risk for a data breach make sure to have an incident response plan for information assurance. Breaking through computer security is a black hat’s profession, so don’t give them an easier opportunity by having zero layers of security to protect information.
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