While there have been a lot of high-profile hacks in the past few years, many still don’t believe that they themselves could one day also become victims of data breaches. But the reality is that just about any person could potentially be hit by one of these attacks and have their personal information used illegally. Even with all of the physical security they travel with, high-profile celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence and Kaley Cuoco have been targeted with their personal pictures stolen from “the cloud” and posted online.
With all of the security surrounding federal employees, you would think they would be safe from such hacks—unfortunately, you’d be wrong about that as well.
Government Data Breaches Aren’t Just Political
In 2015, there was a data breach at the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM). This agency is human resources for the federal government, holding data for millions of federal employees. In this major cyberattack, over four million employees were hacked and had their personal data compromised. While the attack is believed to have been centered in China, it doesn’t have to be a foreign government coming after your information for political means. More than likely, this information was the result of hackers looking for a relatively easy “soft target” that would net them multiple data points. These pieces of data can then be sold on the Internet for people who wish to engage in identity theft. Once the information is available, anyone can purchase it and set up new identities using these employees’ social security numbers. This also means they can open up checking accounts and take out credit cards, committing financial fraud and potentially ruining the credit ratings and finances of those affected by the breach.
How You Can Avoid Becoming a Cyberattack Victim
So, if the federal government can’t protect its own employees from such a breach, what hopes does the average citizen have? There are a few things you can do to help maintain your identity and protect yourself. First and foremost, make sure that you use a secure password for your logins and change this password regularly. Also, consider using “two-factor” authorization with your accounts, especially with your bank accounts and other financial logins. This will not necessarily help with a data breach of a third-party such as what happened with the OPM, but it can still make it harder for thieves to get your banking information. In addition, if you are the victim of a breach, make sure that you check your credit reports regularly to see if someone has opened a line of credit in your name. If this occurs, you may wish to put in a credit freeze, although this can be a hassle for you as well.
The fact is that data breaches and thefts such as these are becoming almost commonplace. But the hacking of the federal government and the loss of this personal data should come as a warning to those who think that it can’t happen to them. New Edge Technology Solutions wants to be sure you are aware and proactive in protecting your information. Find out more about New Edge Technology Solutions and how we’re protecting businesses every day.