In 2017, there were 1,579 data breaches with close to 179 million records exposed.
It seems that not a week goes by where we don’t hear about another data breach. Just this month, Sears, Kmart, Delta, Best Buy, and Panera Bread have announced that they had been impacted by a breach that potentially exposed hundreds of thousands of credit-card information.
Personal financial information accounts for 40% of information lost in breaches, however, if the owner reports the card as stolen, it is useless. The real problem is when an attacker gains personal data such as names, dates of birth, or social security numbers. This information, especially a social security number, can be detrimental to an individual’s financial and legal life.
Yet when we hear about another breach, we just don’t seem to care. But why is this?
With breaches becoming the norm, consumers are reaching a point where they are finding them less and less surprising, therefore fail to adjust their behavior. This is known as breach fatigue. Changing passwords and canceling credit cards becomes exhausting. People believe that it’s inevitable that one day they will become a victim of a data breach, so taking steps to protect their data seems unnecessary.
Another reason may be that people don’t know what to do after they had been notified of a breach. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, this is the case for 49.3% of people. Another 31.5% of people said they didn’t know who to turn to for support.
So, what do you do if you were involved in a data breach?
- Change your password(s) the moment that you have found out that you have become involved in a data breach.
- Monitor all of your financial accounts for suspicious activities and if available sign up for account activity alerts via text or email.
- If your social security number or other personally identifiable information was leaked, consider putting a security freeze on your credit report.