Data breaches have become a part of every day life and their numbers continue to increase. In the first three months of 2022 alone there were 404 major data breaches. The latest major data breach involves Neopet which is a virtual pet website used by millions. Earlier this week, Neopets confirmed that it had suffered a major data breach in which usernames, email addresses, passwords, dates of birth, and other information of 69 million of its users were stolen in a data breach. The stolen data is already being sold to other cybercriminals on the Dark Web, that part of the Internet where criminals buy and sell goods and services.
As I have reminded you many times, we are only as safe and secure as the security of the companies, government agencies and websites that have our personal information. So even if you are extremely diligent in protecting your personal information, you can be in danger of identity theft and scams if your personal information falls into the hands of hackers.
So what can you do to protect yourself from these data breaches that will be occurring?
One important lesson is to limit the amount of personal information that you provide to companies and websites whenever possible. For example, your doctor doesn’t need your Social Security number for his or her records and Neopet doesn’t need your birth date.
You should make sure that you have a unique password for each of your online accounts so that if one of your passwords is compromised in a data breach, all of your accounts will not be in danger. If your information is compromised in a data breach, you should immediately change the password for that account.
If you have not already done so, set up dual factor authentication for each of you accounts where it is available. This will protect you from having those accounts stolen by someone who may have access to your password.
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