What you can do about all these data breaches?Jan. 13, 2022 / My Data Removal Staff
It seems like every other day we hear about another data breach or data leak. The T-Mobile breach that occurred in August 2021 is the most recent large-scale example. This breach exposed the data of millions of customers: social security numbers, names, addresses, dates of birth, and driver’s license information. T-Mobile is only one of the many companies to have their systems breached over the last year. Lots of companies lose lots of data to criminals. Once the data is stolen in a breach, it is exposed and waiting to be exploited by cyber criminals. At this point, it would be strange for any adults in the US to not have been affected by at least a few breaches, even if they don’t realize it.
Sadly, there is no one thing you can do to make yourself invincible online.
Aside from quitting the internet and modern life entirely, there is no magic pill that will protect you from everything. However, there are a number of small things you can do, that when combined, will make you safer online and less vulnerable to data breaches and data leaks. We list a few things below that will help you be safer online.
Use a data removal service and get yourself off people search and data broker websites
Sadly, there are more than 100 sites that sell or freely give away the personal data of millions of Americans. Taking your information off these sites is one of the best ways you can begin to take back control of your information that can be found online. However, it can be a hassle to comb through these sites to see if they have any data on you. And then figuring out and completing the removal process is often a headache. The team at My Data Removal are experts in this process and are here to do the hard work for you. Not only do they search for and remove your data when they find it, they will continue to monitor the sites to make sure the data stays removed. Yo
You can also do it yourself. We have a DIY Removal Guide for anyone who wants to take this route.
Use a password manager with complex, unique passwords and when possible, unique logins
Two of the most common mistakes people make when creating passwords is first, to reuse passwords, and second, to use passwords that are easy to figure out. The simplest thing you can do to create bullet-proof passwords is to use a password manager. A password manager can help you generate and remember unique passwords and logins for any site or service you use. Unique passwords are great because if your account gets hacked and they try your password on other platforms, they won’t be able to log into any of your other accounts. If you reuse passwords or keep losing the sticky note where you wrote down your most recent password, a password manager will go a long way in helping you increase your online security and privacy. There are lots of good free options that exist and plenty of good paid options. Bit Warden, Nord Pass, and 1Password are all examples of reliable and trustworthy password managers.
Use multifactor/2-factor authentication when possible
It is much harder for a bad guy to get access to your accounts when you have an additional authentication factor required to login. For example, every time you login to your bank account, you must also enter a code you receive via text before getting access to your account. You can also use an authenticator app (like Authy, Google Authenticator, or Microsoft Authenticator), or for the highest level of protection, a Yubikey.
Check out our article on multifactor authenticationfor more details.
Use aliases online when it’s okay to
Not all online sites and services need to know your full name or real address. If you limit what you give to whom, or, if you use different names for some sites, then when that data is leaked it won’t affect you as greatly. A password manager can also come in handy here to help you keep track of how you signed up where. The more unique your name, the more important this is because you are more likely to be a target when you stand out from the crowd. If you have a very common name, this might not be as necessary.
Check out our article on online alias strategiesfor more details.
Freeze your credit
If you freeze your credit, you make it so no one can open a new credit account in your name. Once you freeze it, you get a pin so that you can unfreeze it if you need to get a new credit card or a loan. This is beneficial because it prevents people without your pin from opening new accounts. This can go a long way in preventing identity theft if they can’t open credit in your name. You should freeze your credit at the major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.
Check out our credit freeze guide for more info.
It is the unfortunate reality of the technology age that there is no end in sight to data breaches. The odds of having some of your information exposed in a data breach are only going to increase with time. It would be wise for you to try at least one thing from this list to help you minimize your risk. We hope you can stay safe both digitally and physically.