Learn More About Data Breaches

Though you’ve almost certainly heard the term before, the concept of a data breach isn’t always cut and dried. What is a data breach in the first place? And how could one affect you?

Any Leak of Information

The definition of a data breach is pretty simple: it’s what happens when someone leaks someone else’s information. That can be a person leaking another person’s information, a company leaking someone’s information, or even someone accidentally leaking their own information. Really, it’s any leak of information, no matter how significant or small.

Obviously, larger data breaches are usually the ones that make big headlines. Data breaches wherein millions of users could potentially have lost information tend to be the ones that make for big headlines, and they’re the ones that you usually hear about. Remember that even huge data breaches don’t always mean a huge swath of people actually lost information. It’s usually the company providing the widest possible estimate to cover even people who may not have experienced a data breach.

Anything From Minor to Severe

A data breach can involve information of literally any magnitude, from incredibly minor breaches to devastatingly severe ones. Whether it’s personal pictures uploaded onto a personal profile, non-protected health care information, or even Social Security Numbers and credit card information, it can all have an impact.

Anytime you hear that your information may have been part of a data breach, it’s a good idea to make sure you pay attention to what that data breach covers. You’ll want to take action either way, meaning you should probably change your passwords and be on higher lookout no matter how minor the breach. But having an idea of how significant the issue really is could be useful to help you focus in on your actual compromised data.

Sometimes Malicious, Sometimes Accidental

One of the reasons it’s so difficult to prevent data breaches is because they’re not always on purpose. While it can definitely be an intentional attack, some data breaches, including many of the largest ones on record, simply happened because someone made a mistake. Whether it’s because someone accidentally left a flash drive in the car or because hackers directly infiltrated a website, a data breach is significant nonetheless.

How Might I Be at Risk?

If you use any sort of service, you could potentially find yourself at risk of a data breach. But how could that affect you?

Unwanted Exposure

Sometimes data breaches cause embarrassment more than privacy concerns, and sometimes that’s exactly what scammers and hackers are looking for. Data breaches are notorious for exposing information like dating sites built to facilitate affairs and other potentially embarrassing information.

Although it might seem like this is one of the less significant types of data breaches at first, it’s often just as important as any other data breach. After all, the social effects of one of these breaches is pretty significant. Because it’s just as important to your overall functioning in society, it’s a good idea to tackle these breaches just like you would any identity or financial breach.

Identity Theft

If the breached information includes anything of significant value, you could end up dealing with identity theft. In fact, that’s often what individuals are looking for when it comes to hacking and data breaches. Credit card fraud and other pieces of the puzzle are all important of course, but identity theft allows individuals to keep receiving returns for years and even decades.

This is especially important because you very rarely change your personal information. In all likelihood, you won’t change your name unless you marry, and your Social Security Number stays the same throughout your entire life.

Future Scams

Even with more benign information, a data breach can still cause harm. That’s because scammers are amazing at weaving all sorts of information into a targeted scam. You never know what a scammer will end up sending through a future scam, and any data breaches that happen right now can impact a future scam.

For example, if you do have an account with an affair site, the initial hacking may not seem like a big deal. But what about four or five years down the line when you get a phone call from a “bank” that references the affair site membership? You’re much more likely to trust a bank, and that can lead to some genuine danger.

What’s the Best Way to Protect Myself from a Data Breach?

When it comes to avoiding damage from a data breach, you can protect yourself both before the fallout and afterward. What can you do on both ends?

Always Verify Identities

Any time you’re going to give out information, you should verify that you’re talking to the person you think you are. Scammers running phishing scams do exactly this — they create a false sense of security, making it sound like you’re actually talking to a trusted official, then steal anything that they can get their hands on.

Thankfully, with a reverse phone lookup, you can make sure that it does actually happen the way you think it should. Does the caller claim to be from a local bank? If so, run a reverse phone lookup on the number that the individual called with, and make sure everything is actually what it appears to be. Don’t be afraid to hang up or ask additional questions if your gut tells you something’s wrong.

Keep an Eye on Your Own Information

If you know the pieces of your information the general public can access, you should also be able to tell when that information changes. You really need to make sure that you have an eye on it all. So, if someone surreptitiously leaks your information onto the dark web, you’ll be able to tell right away and can take the proper steps to resolve the situation.

The best way to keep track of your public information is to perform a PeopleFinders people search on yourself as regularly as possible. It’s not always easy to keep up with all of that information, but PeopleFinders makes such identity monitoring easier. You just have to enter your own name and you should be able to see all the information that PeopleFinders has available for you. To keep up with any changes, we recommend checking on yourself every month or so for the best, most current results.

Protect Yourself From All Sides

There are lots of safety concerns in the world. But luckily for you, there are also lots of ways to stay safe. You don’t have to worry too much about safety concerns when there are so many different ways to monitor the safety of yourself and others. From reverse phone lookups to people searches and much more, you can get the information you need from PeopleFinders.

With literally billions of records from millions of American adults, you should be able to find all kinds of information about others, as well as yourself. You can look up general public records, criminal records, address records, and much more. Having this data at your disposal is a great way to stay ahead of the hackers and keep yourself safe, whether that means checking up on other people you meet or simply paying attention to your own information.

What Is a Data Breach?