Here’s what to do if a data breach exposes your information
SAN ANTONIO – McDonald’s is the latest large company to be hit by a data breach, exposing the personal information of customers in Asia. Cyber intrusion into businesses is increasingly common, with 150 million people having their information exposed last year.
Sometimes companies let people know if they are victims of a data breach. But, consumers can take proactive steps, such as researching online what information has been compromised. The website https://haveibeenpwned.com can reveal if an email, phone number or password has been exposed.
“If your password has been compromised, change it wherever you use it,” said Bree Fowler of Consumer Reports.
While it is convenient to use the same password for different accounts, it is not recommended. To help you remember your passwords, Fowler recommends using a password manager such as ONE Password. It creates and stores complex and unique passwords for each account.
Cybercriminals use personal information to try to log into your accounts. At the very least, Fowler says he uses multi-factor authentication, which requires a second form of identification to log in.
“A lot of times it’s a code sent to your phone,” Fowler said. “But we recommend that you use a more secure form than that. “
The Google authentication app or hardware like the Yubikey are two examples.
If your Social Security number or financial information was part of a data breach, security experts advise you to freeze your credit. You can do this for free by logging into the three major credit bureaus. Keep in mind that you will need to “unfreeze” your credit report if you apply for a car loan, mortgage, credit card, or anything that requires a check of your credit history.
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