A data breach is a security incident in which information is accessed without authorization. Data breaches can hurt businesses and consumers in a variety of ways. They are a costly expense that can damage lives and reputations and take time to repair.
5 Steps To Take After a Data Breach

What to do after a data breach: You get an email from a company where you have an account. There’s been a security incident. Your account has been compromised.

Getting notified that you’ve been a victim of a data breach can be alarming. You have valid cause for concern, but there are a few steps you can take immediately to protect your account and limit the damage.

1. Read the details about the breach.

Read closely to learn what happened. What personal data of yours was included? Your next steps will depend on what information you need to protect. When did the breach happen? You may receive the notice months or even years after the data breach occurred. Sometimes it takes awhile for companies to discover a breach. Sometimes breaches are not immediately made public.

2. If you haven’t yet, change your password.

Lock down your account with a new password. If you can’t log in, contact the website to ask how you can recover or shut down the account. See an account you don’t recognize? The site may have changed names or someone may have created an account for you.

3. If you’ve used that password for other accounts, change those too.

Hackers may try to reuse your exposed password to get into other accounts. Create a different password for each website, especially for your financial accounts, email account, and other websites where you save personal information.

4. Take extra steps if your financial data was breached.

Most breaches only expose emails and passwords, but some do include sensitive financial information. If your bank account or credit card numbers were included in a breach, alert your your bank to possible fraud. Monitor statements for charges you don't recognize.

5. Review your credit reports to catch identity theft.

If you have credit history in the United States, check your credit reports for suspicious activity. Ensure that no new accounts, loans, or cards have been opened in your name. By law, you’re permitted to one free report from the three major credit reporting bureaus every year. Request them through annualcreditreport.com. And don’t worry, checking your own credit report never affects your score.

For instance i got this email from Network Solutions, a web hosting company i have an account with. read the message bellow:
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Important Security Information
November 5, 2019

What Happened?
On October 16, 2019, Network Solutions determined that a third-party gained unauthorized access to a limited number of our computer systems in late August 2019, and as a result, account information may have been accessed. No credit card data was compromised as a result of this incident.

Upon discovery of this unauthorized access, the company immediately began working with an independent cybersecurity firm to conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine the scope of the incident, including the specific data impacted. We have also reported the intrusion to federal authorities and are notifying affected customers.

Safeguarding our customers’ information is core to our mission. We are committed to protecting our customers against misuse of their information and have invested heavily in cybersecurity. We will continue to do so as we incorporate the key learnings of this incident to further strengthen our cyber defenses.

What Information Was Involved?
Our investigation indicates that account information for current and former Network Solutions customers may have been accessed. This information includes contact details such as name, address, phone numbers, email address and information about the services that we offer to a given account holder. We encrypt credit card numbers and no credit card data was compromised as a result of this incident.

What Are We Doing?
Upon discovery, Network Solutions took immediate steps to stop the intrusion. We promptly engaged a leading independent cybersecurity firm to investigate and determine the scope of the incident. We notified the proper authorities and began working with federal law enforcement.

We are notifying affected customers through email and via our website, and as an additional precaution are requiring all users to reset their account passwords.

What You Can Do
We have taken additional steps to secure your account, and you will be required to reset your password the next time you log in to your Network Solutions account. As with any online service or platform, it is also good security practice to change your password often and use a unique password for each service.
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In addition, always check your email from time to time or every day to follow up with every company you have an account with.

Many companies are tightening security measures and reassessing their procedures to better protect the consumer data they use and store.

Laws and regulations are in place that require companies to take specific steps in the event of a data breach or other security incident. Most states require companies to send data breach notifications to consumers when their personally identifiable information may have been compromised.

Still, you should never rely solely on others to keep your information secure. It’s always important to take preventative measures and keep an eye on your information.

Data breaches are likely here to stay, and the best defense against them is a good offense. Educate yourself and be diligent about monitoring your online life. There may be laws, policies, and procedures in place to help protect your information, but it still makes sense to stay engaged and alert even as you enjoy the convenience that a connected life delivers.

To help protect your identity, it’s important to take steps to help protect yourself and your personal information. These steps can include:

Use strong, secure passwords. 

Use a complex and unique password for each of your online accounts. Keeping track of all those passwords can be difficult, but there are products, like Password Manager, that can help make this task easier to manage.

Monitor your bank and other financial accounts. 

Check your accounts on a regular basis for unfamiliar activity. And if the companies offer activity alerts via text or email, it may make sense for you to sign up for them.

Take action as soon as possible. If you see suspicious activity, contact the financial institution involved immediately. If your information was stolen in a data breach, let them know that, as well.

Secure your phone. 

If your phone doesn’t have a password, give it one. Although entering a password every time you use your phone is tedious, it provides a line of defense if your device is lost or stolen. Think about all the information a criminal could access with your unprotected phone.

Use only secure URLs. 

Reputable sites begin with https://. The “s” is key. This is especially important when entering credit card or other personal information. 

Avoid oversharing on social media. 

Never post anything pertaining to sensitive information, and adjust your settings to make your profiles private. While you’re at it, hold off sharing vacation pics on social media while you’re still on vacation. That tells everyone your house may be sitting empty, a perfect target for burglary.

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