What to do after a data breach?

Getting notified that you’ve been a victim of a data breach can be alarming. You have valid cause for concern, but there are a few steps you can take immediately to protect your account and limit the damage.

1). If you haven’t yet, change your password.

Lock down your account with a new password. If you can’t log in, contact the website to ask how you can recover or shut down the account.

2). If you’ve used that password for other accounts, change those too.

Hackers may try to reuse your exposed password to get into other accounts. Create a different password for each website, especially for your financial accounts, email account, and other websites where you save personal information.

3). Steer clear of the 100 most-used passwords.

Every year, SplashData evaluates millions of leaked passwords and compiles the 100 most common ones. The most recent list includes password, 123456, and other passwords you shouldn’t use.

4). Certain words should be avoided in all passwords.

Many people use familiar people, places, or things in passwords because it makes their passwords easy to remember. This also makes your passwords easy for hackers to guess.
According to a study conducted by Google, passwords that contain the following information are considered insecure because they’re easy to figure out.
-Pet names
-A notable date, such as a wedding anniversary
-A family member’s birthday
-Your child’s name
-Another family member’s name
-Your birthplace
-A favorite holiday
-Something related to your favorite sports team
-The word "Password"

5). Use different passwords for every account.

To keep your accounts as secure as possible, it’s best that every single one has a unique password. If one account gets breached, then hackers can’t use those login credentials to gain access to other accounts.

6). Take extra steps if your financial data was breached.

Most breaches only expose emails and passwords, but some do include sensitive financial information. If your bank account or credit card numbers were included in a breach, alert your your bank to possible fraud. Monitor statements for charges you don't recognize.

7). Be wary of public Wi-Fi networks.

You can get Wi-Fi almost anywhere. But these open networks are the most vulnerable and tend to be the least secure. This includes the free Wi-Fi at restaurants, libraries, airports, and other public spaces. If you can avoid it, don’t use public Wi-Fi. Most importantly, don’t use these networks to log in to financial sites or shop online. It’s easy for anyone to see what you’re doing.

8). Run software and app updates as soon as they’re available.

Updating software on your computer or phone can seem like a pain, but it’s a crucial step to keeping devices safe. These updates fix bugs, software vulnerabilities, and security problems. Regularly updating your smartphone apps and operating systems makes your devices more secure.

9). Read the details about the breach.

Read closely to learn what happened. What personal data of yours was included? Your next steps will depend on what information you need to protect. When did the breach happen? You may receive the notice months or even years after the data breach occurred. Sometimes it takes a while for companies to discover a breach. Sometimes breaches are not immediately made public.

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