We have phones that can scan our faces. We have electric cars that can drive themselves on the highway. One would think that with technologies this advanced, multibillion-dollar corporations have robust, bulletproof security measures in place.
Ah, wishful thinking.
One embarrassing data breach was the Equifax hack in 2017. Despite the social security numbers, credit cards and driving licenses of more than 140 million people being stolen, the credit bureau decided to remain silent on the matter until several months later.
We live in an age where more of our personal data is being recorded than ever before. This makes protecting our privacy that much more important. Your data should belong to you, and no one else. In this article, we’ll be discussing practical methods you can use to protect yourself from data breaches and diving deeper into exactly where all this breached data winds up.
How can a proxy provider prevent your data from being stolen?
A proxy provider can help you be more private online by hiding your IP address and your location. Your IP address is unique to your device and can’t be changed easily. This makes it very hard to reclaim your privacy online once it’s been stolen and used to identify you.
A proxy provider can hide your IP address and allow you to pose as if you’re browsing from somewhere else in the world altogether. If you’re in the market for a reliable but affordable proxy provider, take a look at Smartproxy. It allows you to change your location to over 195 countries in the world and hides your IP address.
How can you protect yourself?
1. Figure out how much of your data was stolen. You can’t find an enemy you don’t know exists. To be effective, you need to come up with a complete list of all your breached accounts and then decide where to go from there. The solutions to each of these will vary widely depending on what data was stolen. If your driver’s license information was stolen, you’d need to contact your local Division of Motor Vehicles. If your credit card information was stolen, immediately contact your bank to cancel the card and apply for a new one.
2. Start using two-factor authentication. Yes, it’s better late than never. Even if hackers have your username and passwords, turning on two-factor authentication will be an additional stumbling block they didn’t see coming, and it just might be the key to getting your account back. Most sites allow you to set either your phone number or your email address during this process.
3. Look out for test charges and suspicious calls. Thieves often test out credit card numbers by making small purchases they know will fly under the radar. These usually amount to $10 or $20 at a time. Once the transaction goes through, they’ll know that the card information they stole was legitimate, and they’ll start racking up charges on your credit card. To combat this, be on the lookout for any suspicious charges on your bank statements at the end of the month.
4. Use haveibeenpwned.com to see if your email has been breached. This website lets you know if your data has been leaked out or breached. You simply need to enter your email address or phone number, and the site will inform you of your status. For more information, you can check out their FAQ page, where they provide further details into how they operate, such as their policy of not storing any of your data on their site.
5. Freeze your accounts. This is an extreme solution, but it might be the only one available to you if your bank account information has been leaked. Trust us, it might be more inconvenient in the beginning, but it’ll be worth it when you don’t have thousands of dollars in unauthorised transactions.
Where does breached data go?
Breached data usually ends up in one of two places: hacker forums or on the dark web.
Hacker forums are relatively self-explanatory. These are suspicious sites where sensitive information is bought and sold. Hacker groups typically buy account data and proceed to attempt to break into them.
The dark web is a little harder to define. It’s quite similar to hacker forums, except there are many more illegal things that go on the dark web. From the unlawful sale of drugs and armed weapons… it’s really not the place you’d want your data hanging around in.
The moral of the story is simple: Be careful with what you put out on the internet and who you entrust with your private data. Always keep yourself up to date on the latest happenings and please, don’t ignore data breaches when you see them in the news. Everyone thinks it’ll never happen to them… until it does.
Finally, we need to start demanding companies take better care of our data. Isn’t that the least we deserve after all the business we’ve given them?