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No one can prevent a data breach from happening, and despite the recent improvements in internet security regulations, digital stores, social media and other service providers on the web do not take enough security measures to protect your data - only around 5% of all breached datasets had some type of encryption to protect user information. This means that once a website is breached and publicly leaked, most of user passwords are open for cyber criminals to use to access your accounts.

A good thing is that you can take some precautionary measures to prevent being immediately affected by data breaches. We at Breach Report urge you to share this practice with your friends and family. Here is a small guide on how to de-risk the consequences of financial and identity theft caused by a data breach.

  • Keep an eye out for breaches that affect you.
    Subscribe to a monitoring service like Breach Report that compiles publicly shared data breaches and notifies users who have been found in new data dumps.
  • Use a password manager.
    Services such as 1Password, Dashlane, or LastPass will keep all your password safe, encrypted, and protected. Also, it they allow to generate strong passwords and automatically enter them in to websites and apps.
  • Generate strong passwords.
    If you prefer generating your own passwords make sure you use at least six characters (and the more characters, the stronger the password) that are a combination of letters, numbers and symbols (@, #, $, %, etc.) if allowed. Short numeric passwords and other quick methods of blocking can be bypassed, alphanumeric code is much safer. The most common digital password is 1234, which is the easiest to crack.
  • Use a unique password for every account.
    If you use different passwords you will minimize the negative effect of data breaches. Once a hacker gains access to one of your accounts, they will not have access to any other of your other accounts.
  • Minimize the usage free Wi-Fi hotspots.
    Try not to use public networks such as free Wi-Fi zones and do not perform any banking operations through them. Public networks are highly dangerous since a hacker can break into your session via free hotspot by cracking the router. He only needs to duplicate the traffic through a new port and all logins, passwords and data that you enter will pass through his server.
  • Use a VPN service on free Wi-Fi hotspots.
    This is a good way to avoid some of the dangers lurking in public Wi-Fi networks: by redirecting your Internet surfing through an intermediary server.
  • Scan your network connections.
    Download an app like Little Snitch that monitors your computer's outgoing network connections. It will notify you if your computer tries to send data to an unknown server - this is possibly a sign that your system has been compromised.
  • Enable internal firewall.
    Firewall is necessary for the protection of the internal processes of your computer from potential external attacks and malware when you are connected to the internet. Check how to enable firewalls for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
  • Do not open suspicious links.
    When clicking on links sent to your emails, ads and social media pay attention to the link address to make sure that the address matches the URL you are trying to visit. Sometimes hackers substitute the address of the link, transferring the user to a malicious source to infect the computer with a virus and steal data.
  • Use two-factor authentication (2FA) anywhere possible.
    Adding an extra layer of security with 2FA means that you will need to add another chunk of data to verify yourself when logging in to your accounts. Think of the verification code or fingerprint that is required when sending money via an e-banking app. 2FA requires a few more seconds to enter the desired account but it keeps you safe from theft, because even if someone gets a hold of your password they can’t access your private information and steal your money, unless they pass the second layer of identification.
  • Use an additional identification layer from another service.
    Inform your bank, cable company, cell phone company and Internet service provider, to require a verification code, a password, or a fingerprint proof to confirm your identity. An additional step to accessing your data will make it harder to be stolen.

You are not alone! There are more than 2.6 billion unique email addresses breached.

Don’t panic.
Take a moment to read the instructions below.
Take action and stay safe.

  • IMMEDIATELY change the password of the compromised email.
    Create a strong and complex password by:
    1) using special password generatorы and managers like 1Password, Dashlane, LastPass, or
    2) make one yourself.
    Make sure that password doesn’t contain words and uses symbols, digits and uppercase letters. This is necessary so that hackers and criminals don’t gain access to other private information linked to the compromised email address, as passwords which contain meaningful text are easily cracked.
  • Change the password of the compromised account.
    If hackers retrieved some information by hacking the website where you have an account - it doesn’t mean that you have to delete said compromised account. You can still keep using it, but you will need to change the password to a new, unique one.
  • Check for the same passwords.
    If you used the same password for two or more accounts, change them and read our recommendations on How to minimize the damage of a data breach. Otherwise, you allow hackers to take more of your private info and therefore possibly use your identity for criminal activities.
  • Add 2FA to your accounts.
    This extra step will help you protect your data by adding an extra layer of security.
  • Stay informed about your compromised data.
    Purchase our PDF-report through the landing page or Portal Dashboard and analyze your compromised data. Some of the breaches include sensitive financial and identity information, so if a cyber criminal has the dataset which contains your credentials he can work out a way of stealing your money and possibly identity. If your bank account or credit card numbers were included in a breach, alert your bank about the possible scam and discuss preventive measures with them.
  • Spread awareness and contribute to overall cyber security.
    Contact the support team of the hacked site if you think they are not informed about the breach of their website. You will help others to get informed and to take measures against possible data theft
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