It may be a nightmare if your email, credit card, or identity is compromised. Knowing what to anticipate might be beneficial; knowing how to avoid hackers is even better. When you learn that your personal information has been compromised, your initial thinking could be, “Why me?” Why couldn’t someone else have done it? In reality, you may have been a victim for a cause, such as a weak, easily guessed password or an overly prominent social network account. But it’s also conceivable that hackers gained access to one of your accounts through a data leak and turned it into a full-fledged hack attack. In any case, they’ll try to profit from their unlawful access before you discover anything is amiss.
How Will You Find Out?
When a large hacking assault or data breach occurs, it makes headlines. Often, the impacted service may launch a web page where you can check to see whether you were affected. And you will be affected, if not now, then later. The only advantage is that you are one of potentially millions of people, so the hackers may never get around to weaponizing your information. Don’t think you can prevent a breach. The antivirus software on your PC is completely ineffective against a security assault on a remote server.
Not every attack begins with a high-profile data leak. A dishonest internet retailer, a card skimmer, or even a server at a physical restaurant might jeopardize your credit card. The arrival of unusual goods on the credit card account might be the first indicator. Always study those bills and find out what each line, even the minor expenses, represents. Card thieves will occasionally make a few minor purchases to ensure that the card is “active” before making a large payment. You may use a personal financial program like Mint to track all of your credit card activities in one location.
What Will Happen Next?
The easiest hack to overcome is credit card compromise. You are not liable for the fraudulent transactions, and the situation is resolved once the bank issues a new card. Except for the fact that you’ll need to change your payment details everywhere the previous card was kept. It might be more difficult to regain control of a compromised email account. You must contact the email provider and demonstrate that you are the real account holder. Of course, if the hacker changes your password, you won’t be able to contact the provider via your usual email. It is critical to have multiple email addresses and to make each one the alternate contact address for the other.
Many websites require you to use your email address as your username. That’s clearly preferable to requiring you to select (and remember) a distinct login and password for each site. However, if you used the password from your stolen email account on any other websites, those accounts are now compromised as well. A hacker who obtains your login credentials for one site would almost certainly try the same username and password combination on hundreds of other popular sites.
How to not be hacked again!
According to expert assessments, far too many victims of a data breach do nothing. The bulk of folks that take action simply reset their password on the compromised site. Simply reacting (or not reacting) in this manner will have no effect. How can you ensure that you are not hacked, or that you are not hacked again? Each huge breach sparks a flood of stories advising you to freeze your credit, set up a fraud alert (which means you’ll have to go through additional verification processes to start a new account), and so on. You should regard such changes to your credit-using habits to be permanent. After all, the next major breach is not far away; in fact, it may have already occurred. In the Equifax case, the real breach occurred months before it was detected. There isn’t much you can do about credit cards other than avoid buying at unscrupulous businesses, whether in person or online. Most physical shops now accept chipped credit cards. Chipped cards provide complete security for in-person transactions, but they are ineffective for card-not-present internet purchases.
Insecure websites can disclose your email address and perfectly strong password to hackers, but having a poor password puts your account vulnerable to a simple brute-force assault. Use a unique strong password for each account and protected site. You will need a password manager, but you will not have to pay for one. The finest free password managers are quite efficient.
You may request a password reset on some websites by completing a few easy security questions. The issue is that the bad guys can usually discover the answers to such inquiries online in seconds. If you have the ability to create your own security questions, do so, and select tough questions that only you can answer. If you’re forced to pick between stupid inquiries like your mother’s maiden name, don’t give an honest response. Choose a fictitious answer that you will remember. Also, don’t reuse question/answer pairings across many sites. I’d recommend keeping your incorrect answers in the notes section of your password manager… However, if you were using a password manager, you would not have needed to reset your password in the first place.