T-Mobile recently faced a major security breach which is estimated to have affected over 54 million people. John Brinns, the 21-year-old who claimed responsibility for the hack suggested that it was T-Mobile’s unprotected routers and weak spots in the company’s internet addresses that gave him access to over 100 servers.
Here are a few things you can do to help secure your sensitive data against any hack, regardless of whether your information has been included in any number of data breaches.
Freeze your credit
This is one of the first things you should do. Freeze on your credit to secure it. This will prevent anyone with your information from taking any loans in your name.
However, the downside to freezing your credit is that when you want to make certain high-value purchases, such as getting the latest iPhone, you will need to temporarily unfreeze your credit — and then refreeze it once you are done.
Yes, it is inconvenient. But the extra time you take to freeze, unfreeze, and then refreeze your credit is worth it and is insignificant in comparison to the time you would spend trying to reverse the damage done by someone opening a credit card or line of credit in your name.
Monitor your credit report
Review your credit report regularly to make sure no unknown individuals are using your information nefariously. Some companies offer free credit monitoring services to victims of a data breach, but oftentimes that’s only temporary. Take advantage of offers like this if your data is included in a breach, but once the limited-time offer expires, be prepared to sign up for another service.
Several credit monitoring services help you keep an eye on your credit report and using one could mean you will receive an alert and hopefully catch false accounts as soon as they happen.
Sign up for identity-theft monitoring
Monitoring your credit report is an important step; however, there is so much more that can be done with your personal information. In addition to keeping an eye on your Social Security number and credit, an identity-monitoring service will monitor the dark web for anyone selling or trading your personal information under your name. Identity theft monitoring should give you peace of mind if someone tries to do anything with your personal information.
Protect your logins with a password manager
Using a unique and strong password for every online account you own is an easy way to make sure a breach of one service doesn’t lead to free access to more of your online accounts where you used the same password.
Instead of reusing a password — or a series of passwords — rely on a password manager to create store, and autofill your login information.
Don’t wait to protect your personal information
The most important aspect of taking action after a hack or breach is announced is to not wait for the affected companies to announce how they want you to handle it. Be proactive. At the end of the day, it is your information and your financial future that are on the line.