All the high-profile hacks in 2017 made it difficult to keep track of how severe and widespread many of the hacks actually were. Certainly one of the most troubling was the Equifax hack – it was one of the largest to date and involved a credit agency that people expect to protect them from such potential fraud. The Equifax hack affected almost half of the United States’ population with a staggering 143 million Americans’ information being compromised.
In the midst of this shocking news, it can be easy to throw up your hands at the whole situation and give up. But there are several ways you can protect your identity.
First, take immediate action
The first thing you should do is check if you’ve been affected by the Equifax hack. You can check if you were affected, plus enroll in credit monitoring, at https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. If you have been affected, put a fraud alert on your credit report and enroll in an identity theft protection program. In addition, start regularly checking your credit report to look for any unusual activity. (It is a myth that checking your report can hurt your credit.) This is basic credit security you should take even if you have not been compromised.
Change your passwords, and if possible, consider using multi-factor authentication to “beef up” your security. This means using a password in connection with either a fingerprint scan, facial recognition scan, or a verification code sent to your phone. In addition, make sure your password is as secure as possible. Do not use anything personal, as these can be easy to guess or crack through “social engineering.”
Most sites set eight characters as the minimum, but a truly safe password should be 12 to 15 characters long and completely random. Reset your passwords regularly, at least two to four times a year. Finally, never use the same password more than twice. If you only use one password for all your accounts and hackers get it, they have access to everything.
Keep up with all those new passwords … securely
With all this emphasis on making your password harder to hack, it’s probably causing anxiety as you wonder how you’ll ever keep track of all these random letters and numbers. One way to do this is with password managers. These apps help you keep track of your passwords for each individual site and app you use. The best of these will help you automatically enter the password when you log in and will update your passwords regularly when you change them.
If anything, the Equifax hack has revealed that almost no one is safe from the dangers of a cyber attack. As a result, it shows that computer users must step up their game to stay ahead of the hackers. New Edge Technology Solutions is working every day to protect you and businesses from the dangers of the internet. By keeping you a step ahead of the bad guys, we have your back! Find out more about how NETS is keeping the bad guys at bay.