In this article, we look at the implications of this massive data breach and four key takeaways from the event. Namely, that breaches are inevitable, strong and unique passwords are needed, and that software patches are of the utmost importance.
Your Data WILL Be Compromised
The Equifax breach saw 143 million users have their data exposed. Most of them never imagined such a thing happening. According to Murfreesboro Insurance, Equifax users never gave consent for the company to collect their personal data, and yet, data for 143 million users was compromised.
The first lesson to be learned from this is that any system that can be hacked (which is all of them), will be hacked at some point. It’s not a matter of if, but when. That leaves us with the question: what do we do, knowing this inevitable fate?
While you may not be able to avoid being compromised altogether, there are some simple steps anyone can take in order to make themselves a tougher target for hackers to break.
Use Strong Passwords
Many people make themselves an easy target by using short, simple, common passwords. For example, “monkey123” is not a strong password.
As a general rule of thumb, passwords should be at least fourteen characters long and include a random mix of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Don’t include dictionary words.
How do you remember such passwords? Choose a password manager from the many that are available. According to Fossbytes, there are many password managers that you can get online for free. However, some computer security programs also offer password managers as part of their software, so check with your software provider to see if one comes with the security software that you have.
Use Unique Passwords
Using a password manager becomes much more necessary when considering the next takeaway from the Equifax hack: use unique passwords.
Unique passwords are important because if you use the same password everywhere, hackers only need to discover one login credential to compromise all of your accounts. By using different passwords on each account, you mitigate the damage that can be done by any single password being cracked.
Keep All Software Up to Date
Contrary to popular belief, most hacks don’t occur as a result of some sophisticated hacking technique. They simply involve someone making a mistake that could have been avoided.
This often involves exploiting unpatched software. Because new vulnerabilities are always being found, software is always being updated. Keeping up to date on patches means that you protect yourself from the latest weaknesses.
All things considered, it’s important to take steps like these to help yourself stay protected when breaches like the one at Equifax happen—because they WILL happen. You’ll want to make sure that when the time comes, you are prepared.
If you are affected by a data breach and an identity thief screws up your credit, let VP Credit Rescue help.