There’s quite a bit of data breach fatigue hitting people across the globe.
This month alone saw reports of three attacks on major companies, including a recent breach at Marriott’s hotel chain, which affected an estimated 500 million people.
As people continue to move bank accounts, shopping and communication online, how do we better protect ourselves against what seems to be an endless game of cat and mouse?
Joining us to discuss the recent breaches and how companies and individuals can better protect themselves is Blase Ur, an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Chicago.
Blase Ur’s tips to protect against data breaches:
1. Use different passwords everywhere. “If for one data breach your password is revealed, then you’ll be accessible [to hackers] on all these different sites,” Ur said.
2. To better manage your different passwords, use password manager software. “You might think I have a really strong and hard-to-guess password that I’ll use everywhere, but if any company suffers from a data breach … you’re basically toast,” he said.
3. Enable two-factor authentication. “This is the case where you type in your username and password, and then you have to enter a code that comes up on your phone, for instance,” Ur said.
4. Be careful of phishing emails. “Sometimes they’re laughable, like some foreign prince wants to give you money and then you have to pay some processing fees to get this money. But now that all this personal information is being revealed from data breaches, we’ve seen more targeted phishing emails,” Ur says. “I think a big worry is this will become way more targeted in the future. If you get an email about your last vacation, it might just be a scammer.”
5. Think about what kind of information you are sharing with companies. “When you’re sharing information with companies, think about whether they actually need it,” Ur said. “We live in an age where it’s very natural to give companies information to get services, but just be wary. You have to be a little bit rebellious and say, ‘No, I don’t want to give this information.’”