By: Nancy Richardson, Guest Blogger – VOC Company, LLC (Voice of IT Customer Wizard)
Numb to email hacking stories? Trust me, I know the feeling. But just because a story is common doesn’t mean we should let ourselves get lax about privacy. Doing so risks far more than the use of your email address….more than you could even imagine a “simple” email hack could expose. A hacked email address could cost you your financial and personal safety.
Most of us have seen ominous emails in our inboxes. Often we click before realizing we’ve just been duped by an unknown someone or source. In our post “oh my goodness! I just clicked on a link and now I’m exposed!” panic, we might think that avoiding email altogether is the best fix. But it’s not. So what can we do to help protect our email, other than just not using it?
The Yahoo! Breach Won the Hacker’s Gold Medal – Who’s Next?
An odd question, given one would think all of us who email have now taken measures. Truthfully, most have not — even affected Yahoo users — because most folks don’t equate email and privacy invasion. We cannot afford to blindly move forward without learning from others. And the damage was big, with hacked Yahoo users at great risk of identify theft for decades to come.
What did Yahoo (or any) users have to do to remediate their hacked account, and protect their identity from then on? I have included links throughout this blog from identity protection vendors that offer helpful guidance. No simple actions to take – all affect your near and long term buying power:
Inform Your Banks
- If their email was used for bank account processing or ANY online purchases – large or small.
- Banks may put your accounts on a Fraud Alert, requiring at least a 2 stage process in purchases using credit cards. So big deal, right? Think of having to process 2 steps, with bank verification, for EVERY purchase you make, every day. And this goes on for months.
- Obtaining loans are much more difficult, as your bank filters for risk (it’s their money ‘til you pay off the loan).
- Many users have to replace their credit and debit cards, affecting whatever auto-pay processes may be in place.
- Some users have gone as far as closing their bank accounts and opening new ones – or even changing banks.
Adopt Communications & Technology Disciplines
- Research online expert guidanceto prevent as well as react to identify theft
- Strong password use is a given expectation, but there is a steadfast management discipline that needs to be adopted — and most of us don’t use it. Choosing a passphraseversus a password — one that uses a combination of special characters and numbers — will help thwart hackers.
- Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date… no matter how tempting it may be to click “remind me later”.
- Phishing — Don’t be baited. Read Subject lines and review links at least twice before opening
- Be selective and protective of what confidential private information and documents you email — and how you email them. There are easy inexpensive ways to adopt that simply layer protection and tracking over your own email service.
Take the word “proactive” seriously relative to your electronic communications. Whether personally or professionally, your livelihood is at stake.
So do share! What experiences and advice do you have?
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