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Cyber Security

How To Find Out If You’ve Been Affected By A Data Breach & What To Do If You’re A Victim

 December 4, 2019

By  David Sims

Wonderful World of Technology

There are many benefits that the world has enjoyed with the continual advancement of technology, and the future abounds with problems to be solved and resolutions to be fulfilled. The world over enjoys connecting with long-distance loved ones, reaps the rewards of the modern miracles of medicine, and is in awe watching life unfold in videos of remote landscapes extending as far into the universe as our understanding of science and mathematics will allow. 

Year after year, the rate of occurrence of data breaches both major and minor in nature continues to exponentially increase. To put this into perspective, in 2005 the U.S.recorded almost 160 breaches in data; by 2017, the annual figure reported climbed to almost 1600.

Age of Cyber-Warfare

But the fact is, like many prosperous discoveries as there have been and promise to be, for every solution presented, more obstacles crop up in its place. The new age of warfare has become digital and is not as exclusive to foreign territories as you may think. Since 2005, a movement has grown behind the facade of computer screens. Between the safe looking sentences of headlines and hashtags lurk snares meant to lure and trap civilians. What is the preferred method of attack? Data breaches by means of malware. 

Year after year, the rate of occurrence of data breaches both major and minor in nature continues to exponentially increase. To put this into perspective, in 2005 the U.S.recorded almost 160 breaches in data; by 2017, the annual figure reported climbed to almost 1600. As significant as this increase is, the coming years promise to escalate the number of attacks even more rapidly. The reason for the rise in risk is that with the spread of digitization, the majority of individuals and companies are logging everything into the cloud. Research by some of the foremost authorities on data statistics shows that by 2020, at least 80% of the globe’s data will pass through the cloud.  

Big Time Breaches

With such expeditious amelioration in the technological capacity and the burgeoning of cyber threats, it is more pertinent than ever to know how to secure your information and what to do if you’re the victim of a data breach incident. In the last few months alone, major breaches by financial fixture Capital One, consumer favorite Macy’s, entertainment giant Disney, and foodie favorite DoorDash have all experienced major malware attacks. Noticeably, breaches are not exclusive to one particular industry and in fact, there are five distinct categories in which they classify: Educational, Financial, Governmental, Healthcare, and Entertainment. The steps to take for each kind of breach vary slightly and require certain measures to recognize when your information has been compromised, and how to resolve any damage incurred. In the next minute, we will focus on the financial sector which comprises some of the most sought after information by providing details on what this division entails, and how to resolve a compromise in data. 

Guard Your Card

Cash is quickly becoming an artifact of the past and supplementing its use are cards, chips, and fingerprints. With such hassle-free options as the preferred payment method and even more convenient innovations on the forefront, it’s easy to forget how big of a predicament simplicity can actually cause. Cyber-assailants look for any crack in the surface of protection of the many platforms consumers use to browse, purchase, track and store pecuniary details. But if they are successful in gaining access to a database, what is the prize? Ultimately, a colossal payday by either directly accessing your funds, or selling your information to other interested parties. 

To identify whether or not you’ve become a victim of a financial data breach by a company that’s announced being the casualty of cyber-war, first determine the time frame the attack occurred. If it is applicable to your circumstance, research or reach out to the company to find out what details have been leaked. Next, check account statements for the payment form used, follow up with credit agencies to ensure no new and unauthorized activities have occurred, refrain from clicking email links from what appears to be the company in question, and do not provide personal details to texts, calls, emails or pop-ups prompting for information, no matter how authentic they may seem. In addition, because storing passwords in unsecured places, using conveniently short ones, and employing the same ones repeatedly are all surefire ways to inflate your chances of becoming a victim, implement the use of a password managing app like LastPass. Not only will it keep up with the different login information that should vary from site to site, but it also adds layers of protection by administering multi-factor authentication methods. 

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