If the previous 12 months have taught us anything, it’s that data breaches will likely continue to be a huge issue in 2019.
As we look back at 2018, it’s a great time to closely examine those end-of-year financial statements to look for anomalies or discrepancies — especially if you’ve done business with any of these companies.
Were you affected by any of 2018’s big data breaches?
Some of the largest retailers and tech companies have fallen victim to hackers who have stolen people’s personal information.
In 2018 alone, a number of data breaches made headlines. Here are some of the major ones:
|10 of the major data breaches of 2018|
|Company||Month||Number of people exposed|
|Orbitz||March||880,000 customers affected|
|Panera||April||27 million users affected|
|Under Armour||May||150 million users affected|
|May||About 30 million users affected|
|Saks, Lord & Taylor||June||5 million users affected|
|Exactis||June||340 million individuals and businesses affected|
|Ticketfly||June||27 million users affected|
|MyHeritage||June||92 million users affected|
|Delta & Sears||July||up to 5 million customers affected|
|Google+||October||52 million users affected|
Because hackers are so nimble and good at what they do, the state of online privacy and security is as fragile as ever.
3 cybersecurity tips to follow during a data breach
Still, there are some concrete steps you can take to protect yourself. Here are a few:
1. Follow the recommended steps from the affected company
Companies affected by data breaches will typically give instructions on how to protect yourself. They may even offer some free fraud monitoring protection or anti-identity theft measures. In many cases, you should follow what they recommend. Not only may it make sense, but it could bolster your case in the event that you choose to take legal action down the line.
2. Change your passwords to make them stronger
There have been instances where compromised companies have said that customers don’t have to change their account logins. But more often than not, you’ll eventually find out that the company wasn’t telling the public the whole story. Changing your account login after a data breach is simply a smart decision. Always use a password that is unique to that account. Make it a strong one.
3. Freeze your credit
Because having your hard-earned money stolen is a top concern during a data breach, making sure no one can gain access to your credit is key. Money expert Clark Howard’s Credit Freeze Guide walks you through the steps on how to freeze your credit with the three primary credit-reporting agencies and then some.
The #1 security issue online these days is identity theft. That’s why Clark says the one thing you need to do before you freeze your credit is to put in place a way for you to monitor your credit. This is what he wants you to do:
- Sign up for a Credit Karma or Credit Sesame account to get free credit monitoring and be notified when anyone tries to access your personal info. Here’s a step-by-step rundown of how to do it.