Recent data breaches have jeopardized millions of consumers. But what are data breaches and how can you protect yourself from them?
We all love our devices. They help make our lives easier, so much so that many of us can’t imagine life without them! But the convenience that technology provides us with has a darker side that often goes unnoticed. That is, until you see “hackers expose 50 million users” or “companies targeted in massive data breach” in your feed. Then, all of a sudden, the dangers of the online world are very apparent and very scary.
What is a Data Breach?
As the world becomes increasingly more digital, your data becomes more and more valuable as an asset! And as your personal information becomes more valuable, the threats posed by the internet become more relevant. Chief amongst those threats is the risk of a data breach. A data breach occurs when an unauthorized entity or individual gains access to your data without your permission. Most companies will hoard your information for advertising purposes, which can be incredibly frustrating. On top of that, there are bad actors who seek to obtain your data for more nefarious purposes. Hackers and identity thieves may try to obtain your personal information so that they can sell it or use it to scam you or your loved ones.
So if a hacker does steal your info, what does that mean for you? Well, it means that, depending on where the hacker got your info from, they could have access to sensitive information such as your full name, phone number, address, Social Security number, credit card information and much more. And that’s not all, those same hackers can use that information to access your contacts and exploit them as well! Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself from data breaches before they even happen.
Unfortunately, the last several months have witnessed harmful data breaches that have affected some of the world’s largest organizations. T-Mobile, Microsoft, and Wawa are just a few of the companies that have made headlines recently after their users’ data was stolen or exposed in some way. This has caused tens of millions of consumers to have their personal information exposed, which could potentially have dangerous implications for both their privacy and financial security.
A Concerning Trend
And worse yet, both the frequency and cost of data breaches are on the rise! According to an article which analyzed IBM’s study, Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021, more potent data threats have led to a significant increase in the volume and financial cost of data attacks.
Part of the reason we’ve seen such an increase in data breaches is that companies are not improving their ability to detect or contain such breaches, while the bad guys continue to find new ways to exploit data. According to the same IBM study, the last several years have seen an uptick in the time it takes for companies to identify and bottle up data breaches, despite organizations spending more on online security measures each year. And the worst part? The most commonly exposed information in data breaches is that of the user! Customer’s personal data has been exploited in 44% of all data breaches over the past year.
Your Privacy is at Risk
As we get deeper into 2021, this trend is increasing at an alarming rate. In recent weeks, two of the biggest names in tech found themselves in hot water after being compromised in breaches. The largest incident in recent news was the T-Mobile breach, in which over 54 million users had sensitive personal information exposed through a hack of the wireless provider’s database. Current, former, and prospective customers of the cell company had information such as Social Security numbers stolen, opening them up to the possibility of identity theft and credit card fraud. The other notable breach came at the cost of Microsoft users, as more than 1,000 web applications experienced data leaks due to misconfigurations in the tech giant’s Power Apps tool. Consumer data ranging from Social Security numbers to Covid-19 contact tracing information was all made vulnerable through the breach.
So, we know that the companies which provide the services we enjoy are at an increasing risk of privacy breaches. And we also know that they haven’t shown that they can do what it takes to protect their customers. So how can you, the consumer, take matters into your own hands?
How to Protect Yourself from Data Breaches
At this stage, unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid data breaches entirely. The bad actors that are after your data are constantly searching for holes in the online armor of corporations. What you can do however, is employ the services of a site like Privacy Bee, which constantly scans the internet to detect breaches and alert you as soon as they occur. The site doesn’t just continually monitor for privacy threats. It also gives you full control over your privacy preferences, allowing you to surf the web worry-free. As this article explains, Privacy Bee is a great tool to avoid privacy threats by keeping the control of your personal data in your hands and away from companies and individuals you can’t trust.
It can sometimes seem like we have to trade privacy for the sake of convenience as we use the internet. Whether it’s from companies hoarding data for marketing purposes, or hackers and identity thieves on the hunt for personal information, it feels as if consumer privacy is constantly being threatened. And with the ever-increasing risks (and costs) of data breaches, it can feel as if there’s no hope in the tug-of-war to maintain control over your personal data.
Keep Your Data in Your Hands
But don’t lose faith just yet! While you can’t completely eliminate the risk of data breaches, you can still protect yourself from them with Privacy Bee. As a consumer, a service like this could prove to be your most valuable asset in controlling the flow of your data and keeping your personal information safe from the threats which lurk around the web. Online data contains some incredibly sensitive information and you should be the one to decide who has access to it. Protect yourself from the threat of data breaches and take back control of your online privacy today!