Data breaches are unfortunately getting more common as more of our personal information is stored by sites we use online. In just the last few years multiple high-profile corporations have had their user data hacked, impacting millions of consumers.
Here are just a handful of major data breaches between 2015 to October 2018:
- Walmart (2015)
- Wendy’s (2015)
- Cox Communications (2016)
- Uber (2017)
- Under Armour (2018)
- Facebook (2018)
Data breaches of companies that have your personal information stored on their servers is a growing concern of Pro Tech Guy residential clients. Because once you make a purchase online or use a social media site, your personal data is out of your hands… up to a point.
We help clients take the necessary steps after a hack has been announced to protect themselves. We also help families tips for staying safe online.
In this article, we’re going to cover the Facebook hack, both the most recent one and one that happened just a few short years ago, and tell you 5 vital things you should do for any type of data breach that’s exposed your information.
What You Should Know about the Facebook Data Breaches
There are 2.23 billion monthly active users on Facebook according to Statista. It’s a site that many of us use daily to keep up with friends and family and to unwind after a long day at work.
But each “like”, comment, and post we’re making is giving up a little more information about us as a consumer. Companies put all that data together using “big data” algorithms to find out our likes and dislikes to market products and services or do more nefarious things, like try to influence us with misinformation.
The most recent Facebook data breach which was reported on September 28, 2018 that first announced 50 million compromised accounts and later updated that to 30 million, comes on the heels of an even larger records breach.
Facebook admitted to not paying close enough attention to the tactics of Cambridge Analytica, who gained access to about 87 million Facebook users’ data and information stored in the platform and shared it with others. Once data is gone, it’s like squeezing the toothpaste out of the tube, there’s no putting it back.
What Should You Do Following the Facebook Data Breach?
We’re going to get into steps to take for any data breach in a moment. Specifically for the Facebook breach, here are things that the company say you can do:
- Change your password
- Check your account’s security & login page to see who’s logged into your account
- Look for any unauthorized apps using your account, go to ‘apps and websites’, then ‘logged in using Facebook’
- Look for a message at the top of your news feed (Facebook is notifying affected users there)
- Turn on two-factor authentication to further secure your login
What Steps Should You Take After Any Data Breach?
The type of personal information cyber criminals have access to can vary according to the type of company.
For instance, Facebook may have your name, password, and personal preferences data, while department stores like Target (hacked back in 2013) can have your credit card information too. Government hacks, like South Carolina’s tax records hack a few years back, also exposed social security numbers.
So, what can you do after your information has been hacked?
If you’ve used a retailer, organization, or website that reports a hack, here are 5 important things you should do.
1. Check the Organization’s Website for Instructions
One of the first things you should do after a reported hack is to check the organization’s website. Many companies that suffer large data breaches of customers’ information offer assistance for protection from identify theft and they may offer a free year of LifeLock or another similar identity protection service.
For social media sites, like Facebook, you’ll often find specific instructions for things to do to minimize your risk and secure your account.
2. Change Every Password You Have
Most of us use the same password for more than one login. So just because your bank didn’t report a data breach, doesn’t mean a hacker doesn’t have that password, if you’ve used it for another account that was compromised.
3. Check Bank and Credit Accounts
With online banking it’s much easier to keep an eye in “real-time” on your bank account and credit card accounts. Check in on them to see if there are any unauthorized charges or ask your bank to issue a new card if you’re worried your details have been stolen.
4. Don’t Fall for Scam Emails or Social Media Posts about a Breach Resolution
When there has been a large data breach, scammers take advantage of the fear factor. They’ll often send out phishing emails giving you a link to click to “find out if you’re a victim” or make a social media post with a link to “fix your account.” Stay vigilant and don’t fall for scams, instead get information from legitimate sources. (Like your trusted IT pro!)
5. Contact Credit Reporting Bureaus
If you’re worried that a hack could result in your information being used for identity theft, you can check with the main credit reporting bureaus to make sure no one is trying to use your identity to get a loan. You can request a free credit report from three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian) or have them put a credit alert on your account.
Do You Have Questions about Securing Your Online Information?
Whether you need help navigating Facebook & Twitter security settings or are wondering how to delete your saved credit card from an online shopping site, Pro Tech Guy can help you protect your data and stay as safe as possible online.
Contact us today for a free consultation and take control of your family’s online safety!