The recent ransomware attacks against both MGM Resorts which operates 19 casinos in the United States and Caesars Entertainment the largest casino owner in the world, with more than 65 million Caesars Rewards members and properties in 18 states and Canada under the Caesars, Harrah’s, Horseshoe and Eldorado brands has resulted in six class actions recently being filed against the two entertainment giants alleging that they were negligent to take basic precautions to protect the personal information of their customers and loyalty club members including names, birthdates, addresses and Social Security numbers.
Specifically, the lawsuits allege that the two companies failed to take basic security steps including failing to encrypt or redact sensitive information. In addition to possible liability that the companies face from these class actions, they also may well face actions from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for failing to comply with the FTC’s Safeguard Rule which requires companies to implement and maintain data security programs.
So what does this mean to you and me?
More than anything, these ransomware attacks and data breaches are another reminder that regardless of how careful we may be protecting our personal information, we are only as secure as the companies with which we do business with the worst security. About the only way to reduce the risk is to limit the personal information we provide to these companies. Don’t leave your credit card on file with any company and don’t provide your Social Security number to every company that asks for it unless it is truly required. Your doctor does not need your Social Security number, but they often ask for it.
It also is important to freeze your credit reports to help protect you when data breaches do occur. Freezing your credit is something everyone should do. It is free and easy to do. In addition, it protects you from someone using your identity to obtain loans or make large purchases even if they have your Social Security number. If you have not already done so, put a credit freeze on your credit reports at all of the major credit reporting agencies. Here are links to each of them with instructions about how to get a credit freeze:
Also, if you are in the mood to get scared you can go to the free website haveibeenpawned where you can find out what data breaches have affected you personally. https://haveibeenpwned.com/
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