You might think a data breach is impossible and only happens in thriller movies. However, being complacent will not end well, and you should know the telltale signs that someone might have gotten access to your information and is trying to steal your identity or empty your online bank account.
Sharing information is common, especially when registering your name, email, birthday, and other identifiable points about yourself. See more about personally identifiable information on this webpage. On top of that, consumers will also register their cards on various applications and websites to pay for clothes and shoes.
A swipe or two of your debit or credit card at a local grocery store or coffee shop can get you into trouble. Simply put, you’re exposing data everywhere you go, obtained by shady individuals or hackers to steal money from you.
It’s Pretty Common than You Think
When hackers successfully attack a major corporation, they will expose millions of records about the customers’ mobile phone numbers, addresses, social security, purchase history, the contact information of family members and friends, passwords, and usernames.
So, what happens next, and what should you expect from the crooks? Well, this will not be an overnight fraud and theft. Still, you should be ready for it since, in the past, companies like Facebook, Marriott, and Equifax had leaked data to hackers, and they will cross-reference all your other accounts to gain access to them.
It’s best if you’re able to generate and vary your passwords across all accounts to protect your security and privacy. Some may offer these services where they manage your logs and credentials, but even they may become vulnerable. Just secure your number where the two-factor authentication will be sent if you forget one of your passwords and change the weaker ones to protect yourself.
Some will send a code, text, or an authenticator to your phone before you can read your emails or open your social media accounts. It’s an extra measure that will be worth it if you don’t want someone to gain access to your privacy and the transactions that you do every day.
Protect your Browsing Activities
You might be asked by apps and websites to track your activities through cookies, where your browsing habits and private information collection become common. Data collection and the ads that you’re interested in will reveal more of your personality than you would initially think.
Web users may be surprised that they are starting to see ads on the services and products that they have searched for on Google on their Instagram or Facebook accounts, and this is pretty normal.
The webpages that gather your computer and internet info will usually sell what they’ve gathered to advertisers, so you will be profiled according to your demographics, interests, and hobbies. Targeted ads are one of the most unnerving innovations out there, so protect yourself whenever you can.
Blocking your activities with the use of extensions may be effective, and you can usually install them for free. A protection from a data breach is possible as long as you’re always watching out against phishing emails, set up account alerts, create complex passwords, and guard yourself against the possibility of identity theft. Slow down the stalker ads when you disable their settings on your social media platform, and always click the opt-out button whenever you’re visiting a site.
Install the extension containing HTTPS that will help you get redirected to safer sites. They are going to make it difficult for cybercriminals to attack your device regardless if you’re using the internet from coffee shops, hotels, or airports. They won’t be able to eavesdrop on what you’re doing, and you won’t risk compromising your accounts.
Another effective thing to do is install a virtual private network, especially if you’re going to connect to a public Wi-Fi. This is going to provide you with some sort of privacy, so your current IP address is not going to get tracked.
Use Anti-Virus for More Defense
In the past ten years, viruses, worms, and malware might be common, but not today. However, know that they are still in existence, and you need to be careful, especially if you have a habit of downloading files from unknown sources.
They will give you annoying pop-up ads about cryptocurrency mining, or they are going to scan your device for any personal information that they can steal or hijack. Avoid clicking links on any forms of communication if you’re unsure who sent them, and run anti-virus if needed. See more about an anti-virus on this post: https://www.cisa.gov/news-events/news/understanding-anti-virus-software.
Get a second layer of protection even if you’ve already installed programs with anti-virus capabilities. Adopt healthy habits on the internet and update your phone regularly to the latest software. Never install the sketchy ones that tend to harvest data about you, and if you discover garbage content and program on your child’s phone, delete them immediately.
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