Long before the Equifax breach, I went to work for the Federal Government.

As with all federal employees, I went through a rash of background checks. FBI agents showed up at my house, contacted my friends, and compiled a wealth of knowledge about me.

This was back in 2006–long before it occurred to me that this data could be “unsafe”. We still kept most documents in a file drawer. The “cloud” wasn’t even a consideration.

It certainly never occurred to me that my personal information could be worth something to a hacker.

Fast forward a decade and I receive a letter from the Office of Personnel Management with the Federal Government. The document tells me my personal information has been breached: everything from my name to social security number to fingerprints.

Literally everything that makes me unique, that is used to identify me, has been stolen.

Leaving me feeling incredibly naked and at-risk.

The good news is I had just come to work at Hueya full-time, so I had a deeper understanding of what information was putting me at-risk and how I could take back control. Yet, as the recent Equifax breach shows, online security is a moving target requiring vigilance.

You might be wondering, how do I protect myself?

Admittedly, it takes a bit of work, but there are tools available to help keep us safe.

Here are 5 ways you can secure your online world, NOW:

  1. Check out Hueya’s tips for protected yourself after the Equifax breach:
    • This massive data breach has impacted nearly half of Americans. Taking immediate action is incredibly important.
  2. Set up Dark Web scanning:
    • When data breaches happen, the personal information stolen often winds up on the Dark Web. Try a free trial of our Dark Web scanner and receive notifications if your personal info winds up on the Dark Web.
  3. Delete unneeded or unused online accounts:
    • Most of us have tons of online accounts we’ve signed up for and forgotten about. Following the OPM breach, I went through my personal email account and searched “account” and “signup”, found these superfluous accounts, and deleted them to ensure my personal information wasn’t at-risk with companies I don’t have any reason to trust.
  4. Change passwords to all your most important accounts every 30 days:
    • Start today: bank accounts, credit card accounts, email, social media, Amazon (or any place you make online purchases), student loan accounts, healthcare accounts.
    • This step will help negate the information lost in data breaches.
  5. Control how much personal information you share on social media:
    • Sometimes all a hacker needs, once he has your most important personal information, is something as simple as your dog’s name (think account security questions) in order to gain control of your bank account.
    • That’s not to say stop sharing, rather, share with care. Check out this Facebook scanner that can tell you immediately where you are over-exposed on social media.

You can take control of your online world.

It’s scary–feeling out of control. As though there are more questions than answers. However, following these tips can dramatically improve your online safety.

We’re here anytime you need us to discuss your personal concerns. Feel free to reach out to me (Charlie) directly: (877) 904-9048 ext.103.

We’ll help you find comfort online during scary times.

 


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