As we are living in a cyber age, most of the time we have to rely on online services for certain tasks. Almost all of the online services such as social media networks, retail stores, and online banking services require our personal information to process orders. Tech giants store this information into their databases. As per the global regulations of data processing, securing such databases and personal information of users and customers is the responsibility of entities collection such information. They must ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of this information.
What is a data breach?
A data breach is an event in which a criminal gains access to the databases of some organization that contains personally identifiable information. The information stored in such databases may contain usernames, passwords, and social security numbers etc. Criminals then sale such stolen record on dark web markets. Most of the tech giants claim that they have strong security measures in place to protect their databases from hackers, but the news are filled with successful data breaches. Even Facebook, LinkedIn, and many other technology giants suffered from massive data breaches in past. Who can be unaware of massive hack of Sony's Playstation network and data breach that affected millions of customers of Home Depot? below picture will give you an idea that how many popular services have been breached and the compromised user accounts in numbers;
How to check if your information is a part of any data breach?
There are many ways one can check if their information has been breached or not. But the most convenient and free resources to check such information are given as under.
- Have I been pwned! is a service that keeps a record of data breaches and indexes the stolen information that is made publicly available. You can visit the page here. Simple write your email address and it will tell you if it has been a part of any data breach.
- Second most convenient way to check if you are a victim of any data breach is to use F-Secure identity theft checker service. F-Secure is a cyber security company and maintains a good reputation. They have started a service to facilitate internet users to check for identity theft. Simply visit this page, enter your email address and you will find out the details.
What to do if you have been pwned?
If one of the services described above indicate that you have been a victim of a data breach, then do the following actions;
- Immediately change your password for the account that appears in a data breach. It is the first line of defense in securing your digital identity online.
- Never use same password for different accounts or services. If you find it difficult to remember multiple complex passwords you must use a password manager. Find what best suits your needs here.
- Regularly check with the above mentioned services because they are FREE.
- There are many services that provide continuous dark web monitoring and will alert you if there is any breach happens. McAfee provides such an identity protectionn service along with the subscription to award winning antivirus protection. You can find a best deal here.
Stay free of Identity theft and do the best to protect yourself.