Tuesday, 18 September, 2018
Update
   GRE demands ministerial berth for Calangute MLA Says he is the only one in the govt fighting for fishermen’s issues   GRE demands ministerial berth for Calangute MLA Says he is the only one in the govt fighting for fishermen’s issues   ‘No cause for alarm, CM in good health’ Mauvin meets Parrikar at AIIMS-Delhi, says leadership change hypothetical   Sopte to take up developmental works worth Rs 100cr in Mandrem   Francis leaves it to govt and party leadership on his status   Parched Bardez: Water crisis fails to ebb in taluka, public anger growing   With three independents, Vijai forms six-member group and meets BJP central observers; strongly opposes moves to elevate Dhavalikar   Merger talks with alliance partners, Plan B on cards as BJP observers arrive today

Another day, another data breach

Data breaches are a fact of modern life. But, what do you do when it happens to you? Here’s how to reduce the risk and limit the damage if and when it occurs

06th July 2018, 06:35 Hrs

The vast number of data breaches happening in the world makes it easy to tune them out. But it is important to acknowledge the reality of identity compromise. That’s not to say you need to swear off social media and never fill out an online form. Being aware of the risks and how to best to reduce them is an important step toward protecting yourself.

Reports of data breaches are an increasingly common occurrence. In recent weeks, Ticketmaster, HealthEngine, PageUp and the Tasmanian Electoral Commission have all reported breaches.

It is easy to tune out to what is happening, particularly if it’s not your fault it happened in the first place. But there are simple steps you can take to minimise the risk of the problem progressing from “identity compromise” to “identity crime”.

In 2012 former FBI Director Robert Mueller famously said: I am convinced that there are only two types of companies: those that have been hacked and those that will be. And even they are converging into one category: companies that have been hacked and will be hacked again.

The types of personal information compromised might include names, addresses, dates of birth, credit card numbers, email addresses, usernames and passwords.

In some cases, very sensitive details relating to health and sexuality can 

be stolen.

In most cases, offenders are looking to gain money. But it’s important to differentiate between identity compromise and identity misuse.

Identity compromise is when your personal details are stolen, but no further action is taken. Identity misuse is more serious. That’s when your personal 

details are not only breached but are then used to perpetrate fraud, theft or 

other crimes.

Offenders might withdraw money from your accounts, open up new lines of credit or purchase new services in your name, or port your telecommunication services to another carrier. In worst case scenarios, victims of identity crime might be accused of a crime perpetrated by someone else.

The Australian government estimates that 5% of Australians (approximately 970,000 people) will lose money each year through identity crime, costing at least $2.2 billion annually. And it’s not always reported, so that’s likely a conservative estimate.

While millions of people are exposed to identity compromise, far fewer will actually experience identity misuse.

But identity crime can be a devastating and traumatic event. Victims spend an average of 18 hours repairing the damage and seeking to restore their identity.

It can be very difficult and cumbersome for a person to prove that any actions taken were not of their own doing.

Many victims of identity misuse do not realise until they start to receive bills for credit cards or services they don’t recognise, or are denied credit for a loan.

The organisations who hold your data often don’t realise they have been compromised for days, weeks or even months.

And when hacks do happen, organisations don’t always tell you upfront. The introduction of mandatory data breach notification laws in Australia is a positive step toward making potential victims aware of a data compromise, giving them the power to take action to protect themselves.

Most data breaches will not reveal your entire identity but rather expose partial details. However, motivated offenders can use these details to obtain further information.

These offenders view your personal information as a commodity that can be bought, sold and traded in for financial reward, so it makes sense to protect it in the same way you would your money.

Here are some precautionary measures you can take to reduce the risks:

Always use strong and unique passwords. Many of us reuse passwords across multiple platforms, which means that when one is breached, offenders can access multiple accounts. Consider using a password manager.

Set up two-factor authentication where possible on all of your accounts.

Think about the information that you share and how it could be pieced together to form a holistic picture of you. For example, don’t use your mother’s maiden name as your personal security question if your entire family tree is available on a genealogy website.

What to do if you think you have been breached

Change passwords on any account that’s been hacked, and on any other account using the same password.

Tell the relevant organisation what has happened. For example, if your credit card details have been compromised, you should contact your bank to cancel the card.

Be alert to any phishing emails. Offenders use creative methods to trick you into handing over personal information that helps them build a fuller profile of you.

If your email or social media accounts have been compromised, let your contacts know. They might also be targeted by an offender pretending to be you.

Related news

Coping with the malaise of a bulging belly

Healthy diet, exercise and a good night’s sleep is all it takes to retain a good physique, but the comforts of today have spelt doom for the modern age Read more

Epicrisis of engineering education

Once a dream career of every middle class child, the case of few takers in the engineering stream is witnessed across all States Read more

Why al-Qaida is still strong 17 years after 9/11

An unprecedented onslaught from the US hasn’t destroyed the terrorist organization. What is the secret of its resilience? Read more