In 2017, Equifax, one of the largest credit bureaus in the US, suffered a data breach that exposed the names, Social Security numbers, date of birth, and some driver’s license numbers for 143 million people. An additional 209,000 people also had their credit card information exposed.
The attack was discovered on July 29th, but according to Equifax, the breach began sometime in May.
Let that sink in. One of the companies that rates credit scores and stores tons of financial information, had their data stolen for months.
Some would think that the larger the company (especially with sensitive data), the better the security. That isn’t always how it works out.
eBay, the online giant, is not immune. In 2014, 145 million user accounts were compromised.
The list goes on, and it contains some pretty big names. Target (2013), JP Morgan Chase (2014), The Home Depot, VeriSign, and even Sony’s Playstation Network (2011) have all suffered at the hands of hackers.
Don’t panic just yet, though. There are many things to consider when it comes to data security. From businesses to your personal data at home, we all obviously want to keep our private information private. While there is no foolproof way to keep yourself safe, there are some things that you should know.
This isn’t a movie.
The Hollywood portrayal of hackers is over-the-top for many reasons. Having one person just sitting around and deciding, “Well, I think I will hack the government or this bank,” isn’t a realistic vision of reality. Most of these data breaches come due to an unknown security vulnerability. Then groups of people will try to exploit this vulnerability.
There are different needs for everyone.
While cyber security can affect everyone, you shouldn’t be overly afraid as an everyday consumer. Most well-known websites are secure and checking out with personal information is often doubled down with extra security.
Still, if you are uncomfortable, use a wallet site, such as Paypal. More and more websites offer these types of payment options, putting down yet another layer of safety to keep your financial information safe.
What about my business?
That greatly depends on what kind of business you have. If you have a convenience store, there’s a pretty good chance your credit card processing is the only issue with data you’d ever have. Since this is typically handled by a vendor, you don’t have nearly as much to worry about.
Now, if your company stores any sensitive data (especially the personal information of others), you are going to need to step up the security.
How much do you have to lose?
This isn’t a trick question. Really, how much do you have to lose? Financial information? Client information? As bad as it is to have your data compromised, if you run a business that deals with any sensitive customer or client information, you should not only be careful, but you should be protected.
A managed service provider, like Tech Experts, can help maintain your network and data security. This may include firewalls, blocking specific websites, and running routine checks of the security. Sensitive data, like data that can be used in identity theft, should be protected proactively. You can’t save it once it’s been taken.