How to Deal with a Data Breach

Know What to do After You’ve been Hit

Our lives are largely run online.  Even if you don’t hop onto the banking website, the bank itself transmits data through the internet.  Because there are those that are lowly humans, and they’re intent on stealing your information for their own profit, we need to know not only how to protect ourselves (check out last week’s 7 cyber security tips), but also how to manage after our data has been compromised.

After a Data Breach

Today let’s take a look at the steps needed to get things back in working order so that you can once again manage your life online without the fear of a criminal stealing your information.

Assess the Damage

Data breaches come in all shapes and sizes.  Were you phished and your Facebook login details were compromised?  Most likely what’s going to happen is your friends and followers will get a bunch of spam and you’ll be irritated.  Was your email compromised?  It could be bigger, but again, most likely spam.  But what if your bank login details were stolen?  What if it was the details to your life insurance accounts?  What about your social security number?  More important information is harder to get, but more criminals are after it.

Before you can take the next steps, assess the damage and determine what data was compromised.

Update Your Passwords

On each account that was compromised, your first step is to create a new password.  One that is unique, and not similar to the previous password.  Experts say that every website should have a different password, but for most people that means having dozens.  They then will write them all down and have a piece of paper next to the computer that could be physically stolen.  We talked about a better way to create your passwords, but then using a password service is a great resource so that you only need to remember one.

If some data was breached, you may still want to change all of your important passwords.  This is especially true if you use the same password for multiple accounts.

Contact your Financial Providers

If your financial data has been breached, you need to get the accounts frozen right away.  Depending on which account was compromised, a quick call can get them locked down.  Credit cards are easier to deal with than banks when it comes to protecting your money.  If your account has unauthorized charges, the money will be reimbursed to you, but in the meantime it’s gone from your bank account.  With a credit card you don’t owe on the charges unless it’s determined that they are legit.

It’s a pain to do so, but now comes the process of getting new information to all of your auto-drafts.

Get Better Security

The last step in dealing with a data breach is beefing up your security.  Too many people claim, “I don’t have anything worth stealing.”  They then don’t take the precautions necessary.  But a thief doesn’t need your assets, they need your identity.  They can then use that identity to rack up many thousands of dollars in charges for which you are on the hook.  Having a system in place to protect your online activity, a credit monitoring service, and an ID protection service won’t cost you much each month, but they will prevent a huge headache down the road.

Don’t become complacent thinking you have nothing to steal; even your name, phone number, and address can be sold for a few bucks to hundreds of different buyers.


iDoctor Wants You Safe Online

Data breaches are a big deal.  Identity theft is a huge problem.  If we are all a little more vigilant about protecting ourselves, we can all put a stop to these thieves.  Maybe if it’s too hard to con people they’ll go get real jobs and make society a better place.

Of course if you, an honest hard-working member of society, need a cell phone repaired, a laptop fixed, a computer upgraded, you know where to come!