In today’s fast-paced world, using the internet is a necessity. Unless you try really hard not to, chances are high that you’re getting online at least once a day. Of course, you’re a knowledgeable and prudent internet user! You change your passwords regularly (and always make sure they are considered strong by the powers that be); you never share personal information online; and you always make sure to verify a site before entering credit card details.
So, how did this happen? How did you end up the victim of an online security breach?
The uncomfortable truth is, even if you do everything right, you’re still at risk. For example, in 2017, Equifax—one of the world’s largest consumer credit reporting services—reported a breach in their security system resulting in exposure of 143 million users’ personal information, including social security numbers, birth dates, and credit card numbers. When you trust your information in the hands of another person or company, you’re putting your security and even personal safety in their hands.
But it happened. Your bank called and let you know of suspicious activity on your card—no, you did not spend $500 at Frank’s Good Tyme Party Store in Antlers, Oklahoma. Now what? You need to fix this, ASAP.
Don’t worry. We’re here. It’s not always easy, but you can repair your online security, and here’s how.
5 Ways to Repair Your Online Security
Create a Security Checklist
When you find something suspicious, it’s time to dive into damage control. Here are some examples of categories that you’ll want on your list:
- Contact your bank’s fraud department.
- To ensure the damage is contained to a few transactions on your bank card, request a free credit report (if you haven’t already). If you find evidence of misuse on your credit report, contact your financial institutions in order to handle the situation correctly and quickly before it severely affects your credit score, Social Security Status, or tax filing status.
- Be sure that none of your personal login information has been publicly released. Have I Been Pwned? is a great site to check the status of various email addressed and login details. Enter your email address to see if it’s been released publicly or on the Dark Web for resale.
- Finally, make a list of all the entities that have some or all of your personal information so you can contact them and protect yourself.
Update All Your Passwords
It might seem obvious, but you need to update all your passwords—especially for accounts you don’t use often or that you’re automatically logged into. Hackers rely on the fact that we’ve gotten lazy with our signing in and out, and they hope you’ll forget one or two accounts that they can completely hijack. This includes your WiFi passwords and device passwords for smart tools like Alexa and Google Home! Don’t leave your entire network at risk. Consider using a password manager to generate completely random, strong passwords, and as a plus, most will store them for you. Try LastPass or Dashlane.
Cancel Your Credit Card
If you know your credit or debit card has been compromised, cancel it right away. Some cards make it simple by allowing you to cancel your card directly within an app or online, but with others all you need to do is make a phone call (honestly, a good credit card company will call you). Most companies cancel your existing card and automatically ship a new one that will arrive in 7-10 business days. Make sure to remove your old card number from any accounts you have attached it to, like Amazon, Hulu, or the Apple App and iTunes Store.
Clean Out the Clutter
You need to do a clean sweep of all your previously approved app interactions for social media sites and Google. Make sure that these apps aren’t tracking your personal data or using your information in a way you don’t approve of. This tool will help you verify that all your Facebook apps are trustworthy, just log in to audit your active apps. Similarly, this tool will help you update your privacy settings for Google. While you’re updating your privacy settings for social media, it won’t hurt to audit your friends list, too.
Install Malware and Phishing Blockers
Make sure you’ve installed the best security updates for your devices, and double check that you have security software in place to keep you protected. There are a number of free or paid security options on the market that will keep a constant eye out for malware, adware, phishing, and tracking. Hackers come up with new ways to infiltrate your security daily, so keeping your security settings and software up to date is paramount in repairing and keeping yourself secure online.
StopAd PRO offers complete browsing security options, including malware flags, adware protection, phishing alerts, tracking blockers and even cryptojacking interception.
Have you ever been the victim of an online security breach? What did you do?