The worst has happened: your customer, company or personal sensitive data has been compromised. If you’re lucky, the breach was caught early and banks or credit card services have been notified. If not, the stolen data is going for a joyride – at your expense. But, what actually happens to the life of stolen data?
Buy in bulk
The theory of purchasing bulk goods to save time and money isn’t limited to items found at popular retailers such as Sam’s Club or Costco. Criminals purchase your stolen data (e.g. credit card or social security numbers, physical mailing addresses or medical history information) in bulk as well. The odds are in their favor to purchase large quantities in the hopes that a handful to a few hundred pieces of data will be valid.
Once stolen data has been initially sold, the buyer can then determine to resell or try and use the information. However, these criminals are savvy. Instead of partaking in a mass-shopping spree, criminals like to test the waters in a process called “carding.” Criminals use your stolen data (such as credit card numbers) to make small purchases and then wait. If the transaction raises no suspicion, the data is considered valid. And, in some cases sold to a new set of criminals.
However, as if learning your personal and sensitive data has been stolen isn’t bad enough, the more information criminals have the worse your life could become. For example, if a criminal knows your address and stores you frequent, they can freely make continuous fraudulent charges.
Protect your data
Protect yourself against data breaches by increasing your information security efforts. Monitor your company, customer or personal accounts daily. Make note of any inconsistencies and be sure to follow-up on any suspicious activity. Use encryption, create strong passwords and change them frequently. If a breach does occur, notify all impacted parties immediately to try and contain the damage. Freeze accounts, request new credit card numbers and, if offered, participate in any free credit monitoring services, as an added precaution.
In order to protect your sensitive data, diligence in information security is required. Yes, attacks do happen, but implement roadblocks in order to protect your data at all costs. It’s your lifeline. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
What precautions do you take in order to protect your sensitive data?