Protect Yourself from Data Breach Consequences

Update: Wes Fryer has some Technology Fear Therapy for you. Watch his TEDx talk on the topic.

Specific Recommendations From Miguel

Here are some of my specific recommendations for protecting yourself from a data breach's consequences:

  • Switch from debit cards to protected credit cards, or use Paypal as an intermediary account. Make a decision to NOT use your debit card or write print checks with your routing and account # on them. 
  • Freeze your credit reports to prevent new accounts. It prevents others from opening new accounts in my name unless they have my special PIN#. These approaches aren't foolproof but they do help. Credit Freeze sites:
  • Online Social Security account. Create the account before the bad guys do. Problem is, if you froze your credit reports, you'll have to go in person to the Social Security Admin building.
  • File tax return early. If you don't do it, they will.
  • Check your credit frequently. Annual Credit Reports provides a free service, but you may need to pay to get that more often.
  • Sign up for Identity Theft Alert: Fill out this form to notify the credit agencies of potential identity theft.

I also recommend the following:
  • Setup an encrypted email (e.g. ProtonMail) for financial accounts.
  • Setup 2-factor authentication using an Authenticator app for all email, cloud storage, digital accounts.
  • Use secure passwords. I like to use secure password generator then add my own twist to it. I end up with a secure password that I keep track of using a password manager (e.g. Keepass, BitWarden).
  • Add a password or pin# to all bank account transactions. It takes an instant, but without it, it may be difficult for folks to access your accounts. And, of course, change these.
  • Get alerts via your bank mobile app for all transactions. I love knowing when funds come out of my bank account.
  • Get more than one form of ID, such as passport, passport card, and driver's license. You never know when you will have to prove you are who you say you are.
  • Encrypt confidential data documents you have saved in cloud storage (e.g. Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox), as well as when they are "at rest" on your laptop or USB external drives. Some free tools include:

Do you really need to do all this? Well, I suppose you don't if you aren't worried about identity theft. 

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


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