Find out if you were a victim of a data breach

Photo source: Photo by Clément Hélardot on Unsplash

Ensuring cyber security is both challenging and overwhelming. Cyberattacks are gaining traction since savvy hackers’ techniques are becoming more sophisticated and their operations harder to detect.

The danger data breaches pose to the modern world takes financial and personal forms and can result from both technology and user behaviour. Data breaches are more common today than ever, as hackers are money-motivated and can target anyone.

Many people are unaware of how prone they are to such terrors and fail to realise that even a minor vulnerability can favour their data theft. But this does not mean that you should not take some easy, preventive measures. Precaution and device protection tools set your mind at ease that your private life data is hidden from bad-willed fraudsters.

Keep reading to understand better how this phenomenon works, what impact it can have on you and what you can do to minimise the damage in case such an unfortunate experience happens.

What is considered a data breach?

To grasp the process of having your data disclosed in an unconsented way, you need to gain a better understanding of what this concept means.

A personal data breach means your data is unlawfully destructed, lost, altered, accessed or unauthorizedly disclosed and includes both deliberate or accidental causes. Some appropriate examples of such a misstep or fraudulent action are:

  • Lost availability of personal data
  • Altered personal data without your consent
  • Lost or stolen computer devices
  • Sending personal data to the wrong recipient
  • Access by an unauthorised third party

You may think that your data is safe on social media because you only make use of giant companies’ apps such as Facebook and Twitter. Find out that you should not place sensitive content there either.

Examples of information leakage that can affect your physical or digital ones. For example, an employee information data breach is where your personal information is lost, destroyed, altered or disclosed unauthorizedly. Since GDPR covers physical or digital personal records, stealing personal data is illegal. Such security violations can take the form of an email with your data sent to a person unauthorised to receive it, lost or stolen documents that hold information about you, breached personal data stored in an online system and many others.

In 2013, 3 billion Yahoo accounts were affected by a cyberattack, holding the record for the most significant breach in history. Five years later, a Marriott International cyberattack affected 500 million guests, and in 2019, records of 560 million Facebook users were exposed on the Amazon cloud server.

Therefore, no matter how well you secure your accounts, the first step in protecting your privacy is using common sense when disclosing sensitive information.

How to detect a cyber attack

Observing if someone is trying to hack your device can be difficult because cyber attackers use increasingly advanced and personalised methods and techniques.

It can take months for repercussions to affect you, so you might want to know beforehand if you have been the victim of a cyber-attack or if someone is trying to steal your data.

Here are some signs that somebody is trying to crack your data:

  • Antimalware and antivirus tools alert you to infections
  • Error warnings and signs in the browser
  • Inexplicable loss of access to social media accounts and email
  • Random loss of access to your network
  • Sudden changes to accounts and system passwords
  • Suspicious network activity such as log-in attempts and bizarre file transfers
  • Suspicious transactions and banking activities
  • Suspicious and unencrypted files
  • As undetectable as this can be, there are intrusion detection websites, tools and search engines that help identify malicious software inside your device.

What to do after a data breach

Suppose an organisation has informed you that some of your data have been disclosed to a third party without your consent. This means that you can expect damaging aftermaths to show. Seek clarification on what details have been exposed and get a confirmation from the organisation at fault for the breach. You will need official records and proof to obtain compensation.

Compensations vary case-by-case basis, depending on the extent and type of harm done. Confidential information, medical records, personal addresses and details, and employment and financial details are some types of information you should seek compensation for if an organisation you shared data with disclaimed wrongfully.

The experts from recommend you contact a data breach compensation solicitor to help you obtain data breach compensation and reduce financial losses. This way, you will worry less about filling out forms and bureaucratic things because they will help you get through the associated complex processes.

Data leakage impacts you both personally and financially

Humiliation, financial loss, extortion, physical or psychological damage, discrimination and threats are some outcomes that can seriously impact persons whose data is stolen. Cyber extortion is an online ransomware crime in which you are demanded a ransom, so the thieves don’t expose your stolen sensitive data.

Data breaches that involve your financial, medical and personal information can lead to financial losses and reputational damage, mainly when they result in identity theft. They hurt you by compromising crucial information and can leave a life-long mark on you. The thought of changing your passwords frequently and enacting identity monitoring or card freezes can be quite a headache.

Avoid future information leakages by paying caution to five aspects

You are less prone to cyber-attacks and fraudsters after you acknowledge the extent to which this phenomenon has headed and take action to prevent your devices and accounts from being broken. These simple and easy steps can prevent you from the hazard:

  • Use common sense when sharing personal information
  • Use secure network connections
  • Create unbreakable passwords
  • Check every link before you click
  • Install antivirus and antimalware software

If the measures you take are not enough and some brilliant hackers still crack your data, don’t lose your temper, take care of your psychic and counterbalance the financial losses by claiming compensation.

Nathaniel Villa
Nathaniel Villa