Data breaches are a fact of modern digital life. This week hundreds of thousands of Yahoo users had their usernames and passwords stolen from one of their databases and just within the past month social network sites Formspring and LinkedIn had their databases hacked into resulting in the loss of personal information of millions more people. It is important to remember that your own personal security is only as safe as the company with the weakest security that holds your information. But there are things you can do to protect yourself.
Do not give your Social security number to companies that request it unless you truly legally must do so. Your Social Security number is the key to identity theft and can provide access to to your credit report which in turn can provide an identity thief with access to your credit. Use complex passwords and use different passwords for each of your accounts so that if a breach occurs, not all of your accounts are in jeopardy. It is easy to pick a passowrd with numbers and letters and just vary it slightly from account to account. Put a credit freeze on your credit report so that even if someone gets your Social Security number and name, they cannot get access to your credit report. With a credit freeze, you credit report can only be accessed through a PIN that you keep private.