It’s everybody’s nightmare. Finding out that your personal information has been compromised and exposed to malevolent attacks. While it is no laughing matter, and you should not make the mistake of dismissing it as no big deal, it’s also crucial that you don’t panic. When you’re anxious, thinking clearly and making good decisions is more complicated. Unfortunately, data breaches have become increasingly common all over the world. While the rise of technology has helped the world move forward faster and enabled everyone to complete their daily tasks in an easier, more efficient manner, it has also meant increased vulnerability in the face of cyber attacks. When everything is online, it means that the hackers have a lot of incentive to work hard to access sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, medical records or social security numbers.
If you’ve been the victim of such an attack, here is what you need to do in the aftermath to secure your data and make sure you give your information some extra protection:
One of the easiest yet most efficient things you should do is change your password as soon as you get word of the attack. It’s essential to choose a strong passcode containing at least eight characters and involving different letters, both lower and uppercase, as well as numbers and symbols. The random symbols are fundamental, as they can be the hardest to guess and will make sure your accounts are protected. As a general rule, you should change your passwords regularly, at least every couple of months, in order to avoid attacks. Moreover, if you’ve been using the same or very similar passwords for multiple accounts, you need to change them to different ones as soon as possible. If one account is compromised, then the others are likely to follow and be affected as well.
You might also want to consider enabling two-factor authentication on the platforms that allow it. This authentication process provides extra security by requiring you to enter additional identification before accessing your account. Usually, this comes in the form of a code sent on your phone. This is particularly valuable because even if hackers obtain your password, they still won’t be able to access your account as they can’t pass the identity verification.
Run a virus scan
A common cause of data breach, apart from attacks on the websites of companies or enterprises you interact with, is malware. If a virus was installed on your computer, it could leak your data to cyber criminals. If you’ve been noticing odd events that didn’t use to happen before, such as programs and features disappearing, apps and documents changing folders without your intervention, the system lagging or even crashing altogether, as well as pop-ups showing up everywhere and not disappearing no matter how hard you try, it may be because of malware. To eliminate the problem, you’ll need to quarantine the affected files and delete them. In more extreme cases, a full operating system reinstallation will be necessary, which is guaranteed to ensure that your computer has had a successful clean-up.
Make a legal claim
If your data has been infringed upon as the result of improper practices within an organisation, you may be eligible for compensation. In order to get a clear picture of what the legal proceedings entail, you should discuss them with the experts at Data Breach Claims. They can provide you with additional information on what constitutes a data breach. Some examples include:
- An email sent to the wrong person: If a different recipient was sent an email containing your private information, that individual could potentially use your data for nefarious purposes.
- Omitting to BCC emails: If this field isn’t filled out appropriately, the recipient won’t be able to see who else it was sent to, meaning that information can potentially be exposed to third parties.
The amount you can receive in compensation also depends on your case’s particularities. Both material and non-material damage can be brought forward in court. The material damages refer to how the breach affected your finances. For example, if you’ve lost access to your credit account after data contravention, you may not be able to recover what you’ve lost through the bank, so that a compensation claim will be necessary.
In the case of emotional injury, the compensation is proportional to the severity of the condition. If you are dealing with moderate PTSD symptomatology, meaning that you’re still struggling with the effects, but have a favourable prognosis and are expected to recover usually, you may receive anywhere between £7,680 to £21,730. If, however, the impact of the breach on your mental health has been truly severe, having impacted your overall quality of life, being detrimental to your ability to hold interpersonal relationships, affecting social interactions as well as your productivity in the workplace, then the amount can range between £56,180 to £94,470 in damages.
Monitor your accounts
Data breaches are difficult to deal with because the situation changes rapidly. Some accounts may not be corrupted at some point but then be affected after a short amount of time. If you are not yet sure if your data has been affected as well, the best thing you can do is wait and look for any changes that may come up. This can sound frustrating and may leave you struggling with a significant level of anxiousness.
However, vigilance is your best friend in situations like these. For example, in the case of bank accounts, you should regularly check your credit statements to spot any suspicious transactions. If you notice a high volume of transactions occurring in a short span of time, significant amounts deposited into accounts you don’t recognize, or payments you are certain you didn’t make yourself, it is a clear indication that you are dealing with an attack on your finances.
It’s difficult dealing with a data breach. The whole process of establishing what has been accessed and securing your accounts afterward can take a long time. But it’s not impossible, and, with a little help, you’ll see it all settled in due time.