While Credit Monitoring is one important level of security if you’ve been involved in a data breach incident, just having it doesn’t mean you are safe… It just means you will be informed if someone tries to open an account using your social security number – well some accounts that is.
Credit Monitoring does not cover new cable or wireless accounts opened in your name; it can’t monitor bank account transactions, credit card accounts for fraudulent charges, retirement accounts, brokerage or loyalty accounts. And they do nothing to stop tax refund fraud or other government benefit programs such as Medicare fraud, Medicaid fraud, Welfare fraud, or Social Security fraud… That’s a lot of fraud in your name that’s not covered according to Avivah Litan, a fraud analyst with Gartner Inc., who was interviewed by Brian Krebs, a security expert, in March of 2015.
And if you’re not feeling totally safe and protected now, this will make it worse. Having Credit Monitoring also does not mean you are protected from phishing and spear phishing attacks or drive-by downloads of malware such as keystroke loggers, back doors, or Trojans. It also does not protect you, or your finances and data, from social engineering attacks or someone taking a high-resolution picture of your desk or paperwork and harvesting information later to steal from you. And it can’t tell you when someone installs a keystroke logger on your system keyboard, or goes through your garbage or dumpster to find tidbits of your life or work they can use for profit.
So, what can you do to be 100% safe online? Ready for the answer? Nothing.
No person or business can ever achieve 100% locked down security unless you put your valuable information in a safe, put the safe in a bigger safe, and never go near it or use it. However, you can do some things that will make your data not worth the time and effort of a hacker or cybercriminal, and they will move on the next target that isn’t as much trouble.
First, do the basics. Realize that no other person cares more about your privacy and security than you. So take responsibility and acknowledge that, like the rest of us, maybe there are some places you can make simple changes that will pay big dividends. For example, using a password manager, keeping your system patched with the latest updates, and not using your administrator account for online browsing. These three steps can make a significant difference in your online safety and identity protection.
Also, pay a little attention to what is going on in that digital world that now holds all of your most important information. From old love letters, to your current bank account logins, it’s all floating in the cyber-space if you let it. Take another look at what you posted on your social sites, including LinkedIn, a few years ago. Some of that info might be over-sharing now and leave you more vulnerable than you need to be. Think about it, does everyone need to know everything about you with just a quick read? Preserve the mystery that is you and make them get to know you to learn the good stuff. After all, the best part of a good book, is getting to read it.