Our information is one of our most valuable assets. If our data is stolen and leaked it can have major consequences for our safety - both online and offline. We can minimize the damage with cybersecurity however there’ll always be a risk of losing personal information.
One of the things that hackers and cybercriminals often exploit and use is our passwords. These are the keys to our information, whether it is bank details, sensitive personal information, e-mail accounts and social media.
If you discover that your data has been leaked in a data breach, it’s important to act quickly and stay calm. Below we give you a list of things to do if your data has been leaked in a data breach.
Stay calm, but act quickly
It can be quite stressful once you discover that your password has been leaked or compromised. But here, it’s crucial to stay calm and act as soon as possible. When we panic, we often make hasty decisions or straight up bad decisions - both can lead to an even worse outcome than if you take a deep breath and get an overview of the situation.
Be sure your password has been leaked
First of all, you should make sure that your password actually has been leaked in a data breach. There are several websites you can use to check if your data has been leaked (here at Moxso we have a function that monitors data breaches. When we talk about leaked information, it’s everything between:
- E-mail address
- Bank details
Change your password
When you’re certain that your password has been leaked, you should first and foremost change your password - and preferably on all your accounts (especially if you’re using the same password for multiple accounts, which you by the way shouldn't!). When you make a new password, you should make a strong, unique password that is difficult to guess. This includes using special characters, numbers, capital letters and small letters. We’ve also made a blog post on this matter, so you can make the best password that is hard for the hacker to guess, but easy for you to remember.
Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
We’ll always be an advocate for MFA - it adds additional layers of security to your accounts and makes it even harder for hackers to crack your passwords. With MFA you have to verify your login with an extra type of authentication. This can be:
- Biometric data
- One-time password
- Password manager
You should enable MFA when you can, and especially do so on accounts where you know there’s sensitive and confidential information.
Keep an eye on your accounts
Another thing that is always a crucial element to proper cybersecurity is keeping tabs of the activities on your account. When you know how it looks on a regular basis, you should be able to spot any suspicious activity or activity that stands out.
Some of the things you can look for are login attempts, emails that notify you about an attempt to change your password and if there’s any changes to your settings. The same goes for keeping an eye on your online bank and accounts.
Inform any parties involved
If the account that has been compromised is associated with any type of service provider or organization, you should inform them right away as well. That is e.g. if it’s your SoMe account that has been hacked, or if it’s your work email that has been exposed to an attack.
The service provider or organization may be able to help with additional security measures so the damage can be minimized as much as possible.
Look out for phishing attempts
Hackers and cybercriminals always keep a good eye on any data breaches. This is namely a great opportunity for them to exploit any leaked data and vulnerable accounts. So if you’ve been involved with a data breach, be wary of any suspicious emails in the time after the breach - especially if the email requests personal information or claims to be from a legitimate organization.
If you’re unsure, you can either delete the email or ask the sender for proof that they are legitimate - and never click on anything they attach in the email.
Change your password on your other accounts
Many of us made the mistake of using the same password for several accounts. This should change! We need to use unique passwords for every single account that we have. To make this easier, we suggest you use a password manager that keeps track of all your accounts as well as generate a unique password every time you log in at the website. This makes it a lot harder to crack for the hacker.
Expand your knowledge
Proactivity is the best defense when it comes to data breaches. If you can stay one step ahead of hackers, you minimize the risk of becoming a victim. You should thus educate yourself on good cybersecurity and how you e.g. make good passwords. Once you’ve implemented these practices into your daily cyber-routine you improve your chances of circumventing any unwelcome breaches.
Another thing you can do to get educated is simply to stay updated on any news of data breaches and security threats. When you know what’s happening around you, it becomes less of a surprise if you get a phishing email or hear about breaches. This way you can also learn about the newest technologies that can improve your cybersecurity.
It can be truly terrifying to discover that your password has been leaked in a data breach. That is why we have gathered a list of things you can do to help you through the breach - and what you can do to minimize the risk of becoming a victim of a data breach.
You should remember:
- Strong passwords.
- Change passwords if they’ve been leaked.
- Password managers are your friend.
- Look out for suspicious activity.
- Stay educated and updated on the newest threats
When you’re vigilant and proactive, you can fight the hacker even better than before. All we want to do is to protect you and your accounts from falling victim to the online threats.
Caroline is a copywriter here at Moxso beside her education. She is doing her Master's in English and specializes in translation and the psychology of language. Both fields deal with communication between people and how to create a common understanding - these elements are incorporated into the copywriting work she does here at Moxso.View all posts by Caroline Preisler