When a data breach occurs, your personal and private information, including your personally identifiable information (PII), might end up in the wrong hands. Cyber criminals are always on the hunt for data that they can use to steal other people’s identities or their money. And some criminals might even sell the data to other criminals.
It’s definitely scary, but there are things that you can do to protect yourself as much as possible against the threat of a data breach. Below is a set of steps that you can follow when you want to work toward keeping your data as secure as possible.
Install Security Software on All of Your Computers
One of the easiest things that you can do to protect yourself from a data breach is install high-quality software programs that are designed to keep your system secure from hackers, viruses, malware, ransomware, and various other threats. Take your time to shop for the right software that will boast the ideal features and be within your budget as well. Then, keep it updated and use it to help you stay safe while surfing the internet.
Keep Your Personal Info Private Online
Another way to work toward protecting yourself from having your data stolen is by keeping it private in the first place. Go to people search websites to see what information is currently available for anyone to access when they search for you. A great example is Nuwber, where you can search for individuals by their name, address, or phone number. In the event that you’re on any of these sites, just follow the instructions to request removal of your listings.
In addition to people search sites, however, you should also look for other places on the World Wide Web where your personal information might be surprisingly easy to access. Anything that you have control over, such as your website, blog, and social media accounts, should not make your personal details easy to find. And if any websites are displaying your information without your consent, you can also contact them to have it taken down.
Freeze Your Credit
Let’s face it: even if you take all of the smartest steps to keep your data as secure as possible at home and at work, there are various businesses of all sizes that have your information if you’ve worked with them in any way in the past. For example, if you’ve used an online shop to make a purchase in the past, they’ll have your details, such as your address and payment info, on file. If those businesses are ever breached, your data might be stolen, and there isn’t much that you can do about it because it’s up to the businesses to keep their systems secure.
For this reason, another way to protect yourself is by freezing your credit so that no one – including you – will be able to take out a loan or open a new line of credit with ease. Anytime you need to get a new credit card, for instance, you’d need to temporarily lift the freeze. This, combined with a habit of regularly checking your credit reports to be sure everything looks good, may help stop criminals who would try to steal from you.
Bottom line: you can gain control when it comes to protecting your data against breaches, so take steps to keep your information secure.