The Real Threat of Data Breaches: How to Respond as A Victim

The threat of data breaches is very much real. And because of this, it is crucial to learn how to protect yourself and recover if you have been a victim and your information has been compromised.

The emergence of the internet has definitely been an excellent thing for everyone, both for personal and professional reasons. With it came many advantages that make life today so much easier. Thanks to the internet, easy accessibility to information, products and services online, people’s lives have been significantly facilitated. 

The convenience that comes from online shopping or being able to conduct research must faster or work or study remotely thanks to various practical digital tools is what drives people and has made them so reliant on technology. No one can’t deny how much this has helped businesses as well as individuals and continues to do so. 

For instance, during the coronavirus pandemic, the internet and the fact that one can readjust and make use of the online environment have proven to be life-saving. Thanks to this, many people managed to keep their jobs or keep studying. Not to mention that this had given people a chance and opportunity to stay in contact with family and friends during a time when you weren’t allowed to meet them in person. So, there is no doubt that technological advancements can be highly beneficial, and this is just one example. 

However, as with anything, there are also downsides. While having access to the internet and information and being able to conduct business or do many activities online are all great things that can facilitate one’s life a great deal, there is also a significant disadvantage – the threat of data breaches. The more people make use of the internet and build on their digital footprint, the easier it is for hackers to perform cyberattacks. 

For this reason, cybersecurity is of the utmost importance. Even with security measures in place, it is worrying that more data breaches are being reported among various companies. But this being said, it is good to know that some things can be done that lessen the consequences. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to learn what to do and how to respond if you are a victim of a data breach. 

In many cases, you are entitled to claim compensation, given that a data breach can affect you both financially and psychologically. To be prepared, it is highly recommended to learn how to make a claim. For instance, you could look at examples of data breach compensation in the UK to see how claims are calculated. This can help you get a better idea of your case, understand your rights and know how to respond. 

Once you have done the initial research, you can start gathering information to make your data breach compensation claim. But while you are at it, it is crucial to regain control of your information, minimize consequences and strengthen your privacy.

Here’s how you can respond to a data breach:

1. Change Any Exposed Passwords Immediately

It almost goes without saying that if you are ever involved in a data breach, and your private information has been accessed and revealed without your permission, the first thing to do is change the exposed password. This should be an immediate response to your being hacked and your data being breached. Indeed, you can claim compensation, as you are entitled to, and this will be able to cover any financial or psychological damage you have suffered. 

But it is also crucial to regain control of the account and make sure that it is safer from any digital attacks. The first step is to change the exposed passwords and create a new one that is more complex. 

2. Make Use of a Multi-Factor Authentication App

Creating – or replacing – passwords regarded as strong and unique is of the utmost importance. This has actually become a requirement on many sites and platforms, given how often data breaches can happen. However, in addition to creating complex passwords that are not easy to hack, it is also highly recommended to use two-factor or multi-factor authentication.

This is an effective method of keeping attackers at a distance. Even if a hacker manages to get your password in order to access your personal information or get ahold of your account, they wouldn’t be able to do so. With multi-factor authentication, no one else can access your personal data but you, given that only you have the second key – which can be another password or an answer to a personal question.

3. Freeze Any Credit and Debit Cards ASAP

If you are involved in a data breach that includes an account where you have saved your credit or debit card information, you must freeze those cards as soon as you hear about the data breach. 

Even though your cards appear to have been unused, it is better to be safe than sorry and not give anyone the chance to access your bank account. Freezing them and asking your bank for a replacement will provide you with peace of mind. Once the new card details arrive, it is better not to save their information anywhere when making online purchases. 

4. Consider Deleting the Account Entirely

Have you been using the hacked account in the last few months? If the answer is no and you realize the affected account is not among the ones you use frequently, you may want to consider deleting it entirely. Once you have made sure that the information accessed has been changed or better protected – like in the example of freezing your cards – it is best to remove the account. This applies to any accounts you have stopped using, whether they are involved in the data breach or not. This way, you lower the risk of being a target.  

The steps mentioned above can effectively diminish the consequences of a data breach and help you regain control of accounts, and strengthen your online privacy. The threat of data breaches is very much real, and even though companies invest heavily in cybersecurity measures, hackers are getting smarter. 

So, unfortunately, anyone can be a victim of a data breach. The good news is that you can take the necessary steps to ensure your data is not entirely compromised and regain control of your affected accounts.

LA Weekly