Identity theft experts will tell you that criminals only need a few data points on you to steal your identity and your money.
“None of us can really keep track of it, I have no idea how many different places I put my information online,” said web security consultant Troy Hunt.
Hunt said your information is often exposed during data breaches from companies or agencies you have done business with. He calls the attacks pervasive and incessant.
“There really isn’t much you can do to prevent yourself from falling victim to data breaches,” Hunt said.
Hunt has developed a website that combines data breach information from around the world. It is called haveibeenpwned.com.
“Pwned” comes from the culture of the game where one player dominated another. In this case, hackers could dominate your personal information.
On the site, you can search by your email to see if it is exposed to a breach.
“So when information is hacked from a company, often our personal information, it’s often spread over the internet, traded between people, sold between people, when it starts circulating people often send it to me,” Hunt said.
Hunt said doing a search can give you an idea of the extent to which you have been exposed. It’s always a good idea to change passwords regularly. Services that you have never interacted with may appear.
This could be because one service acquired another or shared data. Hunt said whether or not you find information on the site, you need to protect yourself from these violations.
He said to avoid using easy-to-remember passwords or the same password for all your platforms.
Using a password manager, an online way to securely store those hard-to-remember passwords, can make it easier to use different passwords.
Also, experts suggest trying to use multi-factor authentication.
“Perhaps another handy tip is to just think about your own inventory. How much information do you really want to give to online organizations?” says Hunt.