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How Can You Protect Yourself from The Impact of a Data Breach?

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Any security incident leading to the fortuitous or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, or disclosure of personally identifiable information is considered a data breach. Numerous companies and organisations in Great Britain are covered by the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation, namely the Data Protection Act 2018. It doesn’t matter what format the data takes. Data protection rights must be respected when information that can be used to uncover a specific individual’s identity is stored or processed. If the security breach is reportable, the controller has 72 hours to contact the Data Protection Officer in their region. Additionally, they must notify the individuals whose information was exposed. 

When data is stolen by means of a cyberattack against a company or organisation, malicious actors often look to trick unsuspecting victims into clicking on scam messages. More exactly, they send fake messages to fool you into handing over personal information about your identity, online accounts or money. Unfortunately, data breaches happen frequently, so it’s possible you could find yourself affected. Believe it or not, it’s not a question of if but when. Depending on the security incident and the details you’ve shared with the company/organisation, information stolen could include passwords, contact information for friends and family, and purchase history to name a few.   

Keep on reading to find out how to safeguard your financial life in the event of a data breach. 

See If Your Personal Information Has Been Exposed

The UK government reckons there were 2.39 million instances of cyber crime and 49,000 cases of fraud due to activities conducted in cyberspace, targeting systems, networks, and individuals for financial gain or disruption. For individuals, the damage can be more severe than figures on a balance sheet. You experience fear or anxiety over how the leaked information will be used now and in the future. You might hear about the security breach from the affected company or organisation or read about it in the media. Tempting as it might be, don’t use the contact detail or links in any messages you’ve received. 

If your details have appeared in a data breach, there are several online tools you can use to know for sure. Have I Been Pwned? is one such example. The online platform will disclose if your log-in details, financial data, or other information by which you can be identified, directly or indirectly, has been stolen or leaked online. Throughout the years, the website has proven to be an indispensable tool for Internet users, governments, and organisations. If the infiltrating entity has sold the details or shared them with others, you can bring a lawsuit against the company/organisation that negligently stored the information. Visit  https://www.databreachcompensationexpert.co.uk/data-breach-compensation/ for detailed information. 

Be Wary of Suspicious Messages

Did you get a text message from someone who’s not on your contact list? It could be an attempt to steal your personal and financial information, so don’t act immediately. Your bank or any other organisation won’t ask you to supply personal details, so be alert to messages that require you to reset your password, scan your device, and so on. Perhaps the message tells you to click on a link to find out more about the issue at hand. If you do this, you’ll be redirected to a fake website to enter your username and password. Let’s assume you accidentally clicked on the link after getting the spam text. In that case, close the web page immediately. 

Check Your Accounts & Look for Suspicious Activity 

Threat actors will use the emails, passwords, and usernames extracted to gain access to your account. Check your main accounts one by one and see if anything has been leaked. Indeed, it’s time-consuming, but it’s worthwhile as it can help secure your personal data. There’s no universal definition of what represents suspicious activity, meaning that what happens in one account could be considered normal in another account. As a rule, an activity is deemed suspicious if it’s unlike any other activity that has occurred within your account. For example, there’s a sign-in attempt from a new location or device. 

If the company you were doing business with or an online service you use has suffered a security incident, change your passwords right away so that they won’t be reused elsewhere. Most importantly, enable two-factor authentication. Adding another security layer for account log-ins guarantees threat actors can’t get that easily into your accounts. Attention must be paid to the fact that it won’t protect you if the attack is more sophisticated. Some companies offer free services as part of their data breach responses, such as credit report monitoring, to protect your personal data. If you have reason to believe that one of your accounts has been accessed, reach out to National Cyber Security Centre for guidance on how to recover your account. 

If You’ve Lost Money, Tell Your Bank 

More often than not, identity theft leads to financial fraud. Just think about it. If a malicious actor gets their hands on your bank account information or credit card number, they’ll transfer and withdraw money, so the impact of the data breach can be devastating. At times, the thief doesn’t want to alert you or the bank to unusual activity. Therefore, they make small, unnoticeable online payments for just a few dollars. The costs can immediately add up. Contact your bank as soon as you identify suspicious activity in your account to ensure no more money can be stolen. If possible, freeze your account using the app or call customer service. 

Conclusion 

Commercial entities, non-profit organisations, and government agencies face the risk of a data breach, which can result in financial damage. The amount of data collected has slowly but surely increased over the years owing to advancements in information technology, affordable storage media and memory, and the growth of the digital economy. It feels as if there’s little you can do to protect yourself. The question isn’t if the security incident will reveal information but when. The best course of action is to be on your guard – in other words, be prepared for danger or surprises.