When we saw the news about Oakland being hit with a major ransomware attack, we knew two things were about to occur. First, our website traffic would surge and we’d be processing requests from hundreds of new clients over the next 48 hours. Second, we’d hear from current clients, confirming that their online privacy protection was still active and working to keep them safe.
Sure enough – that’s exactly what happened. It always happens. In fact we used to issue a press release after every public and private sector data breach, but since they all said basically the same thing we just put out a generic version now, where all that changes is the name of the latest victim.
Don’t work for Oakland?
Great – you’re safe this time. But are you a customer of T-Mobile? If so, you may be one of 37 million customers whose home address and other private data was exposed when that company was recently hacked. Did you dodge that bullet as well? What about the next one?
The first thing we tell people is that if they had come to us before their information was leaked, they would already be protected from a lot of the negative fallout. For you and I, that’s the scams and the robocalls, and finding out that someone got into our bank account and took the money that was going for our mortgage and car payments.
But when it’s a judge, police officer, social worker, or a woman that moved after threatening phone calls from an ex-boyfriend, an exposed home address can be life threatening.
If this is you, online privacy protection is essential.
We promised some additional tips to stay safer if you are a victim. Here they are:
1. Be Proactive
By taking action now to reduce your digital footprint, you can limit any exposure the next time something like this happens. How many places have your home address? Employers, retailers, insurance companies, banks, doctor’s offices, delivery services…they all get hacked.
NordVPN, a partner in 360Civic’s prevention efforts that specializes in cybersecurity, has published an informative article on online privacy and how individuals and organizations can protect themselves once their information is exposed.
2. Be Vigilant
Keep a closer eye on your bank accounts, financial statements and credit card activity. Report anything suspicious immediately. Identity thieves will often test their access to your accounts with a small amount like $1. If that transaction goes through, they’ll be back to get more. Also, be cautious when opening emails from someone you do not know, especially those with attachments, as that may be a phishing attack.
3. Seek Compensation
You didn’t ask for this to happen to you, so it should not be your responsibility to pay for whatever damage may result. Download this form that can be submitted to the company or organization that was hacked, requesting reimbursement from that entity or their insurance carrier.