Security breaches are becoming a regular occurrence at retailers (most recently at Target, Michael’s, and Nordstrom), and they illustrate the real threats we face on a daily basis regarding identity theft and bank card fraud.
Nefarious hackers-cyber thieves-are finding out where the entries to corporations’ systems are with increasing frequency. That means that organizations and consumers must certainly be ever more cautious about online shopping in addition to when creating in-store purchases.
Even though the 2014 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report found point-of-sale system breaches trending downward in the past few years, these cyber attacks-in the retail, hospitality and food industries-comprise 31 percent of data breaches analyzed by the company since 2011.
There are a few important things that you can certainly do to guard your identity, personal information, and your accounts and financial information, and steer clear of the pitfalls of customer data hacks over the Internet and in person.
1. Use different passwords for every website you use
If you are using the exact same user ID (typically your email address) and the exact same password on all of the websites that you use, then it makes it simple for hackers who have stolen your login from website to access your accounts all throughout the web.
It’s impossible to remember dozens of different passwords, of course; so we suggest storing your passwords in a secure password storage software like LastPass which encrypts your log-ins and more. The premium version lets you share passwords with other people at your discretion and under your control. You can easily access your informative data on a portable device via an app. Roboform can be a handy tool for managing your log-ins and bookmarking sites.
2. Use unique, complex enterprise password management.
Make your passwords, tough to crack. Hackers who have your email, but don’t know your password, use different automated programs to guess your password (called dictionary attacks).
To produce their job difficult or even impossible, your complex passwords ought to be at the very least, 8 characters long, and be a variety of letters (upper and lower case), numbers, and special characters (like # and *). Avoid using numbers and words which can be linked to your own personal life (such as birthdays, addresses, anniversaries, your children’s names, etc.).
Just like installing a burglar alarm deters thieves from breaking into your house, cyber thieves will likely skip over your complex passwords in support of easier targets. This can also ensure it is hard for a person who knows you to access your accounts.
3. Check your credit report
Be vigilant about what’s happening along with your credit history and your identity. Register for a site such as creditreport.com to monitor credit inquiries on your own accounts; you’ll discover suspicious activity before it becomes a headache. The service will also allow you to contact all relevant creditors in case of fraudulent activity. Don’t forget to request a free of charge copy of your annual credit report from the three major reporting agencies Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union.
4. Use a charge card, not a debit card
Both types of payment could be hacked, but credit cards provide a buffer between you and the merchant and if your card is used illegally.
Thieves can a) only use it as much as your credit limit, b) you’re typically not liable for some of the charges, and c) most bank card companies have security departments which will alert you should they believe there’s unwarranted activity on your own card. With a bank card, your whole bank-account could be depleted before you know it, and it can be much harder, or even impossible, to get your money back.
One less-known way to guard your identity and accounts while shopping on the internet is to utilize a virtual bank card, sometimes called a “disposable” or “temporary” card. Your bank card company items you a temporary number that cloaks your private data and links to your account. They are usually good for one transaction or at one store’s website only and minimize your exposure online.
5. Use websites which have two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication is applied to banking and financial websites because of the sensitive data they store. Two-factor authentication greatly reduces the likelihood for unwanted intrusions. The user must first enter their username/email address and password on the site or device as the first authentication.
Then, a second action is needed that will be a randomly-generated PIN code (“token”) to key in, or a biometric identifier on site. The 2nd factor can be a code emailed to a smartphone or certain security questions may generate a token an individual interacts with.