Are You One of the 122,636,719 Americans at Risk?

Posted July 29, 2015

Half of All American Adults Had Personal Information Exposed to Hackers. An Interactive NY Times’ Quiz Tells You If You’re One of Them

Put together by The New York Times’ Josh Keller, K.K. Rebecca Lai and Nicole Perlroth, the quiz obviously couldn’t account for every single attack over the past two years. However, it did cover every major attack from “A” to “U” (Adobe to UPS) including Anthem, Target, and the Office of Personnel Management.

By answering questions about the services and organizations with which you’ve interacted over the last couple of years, you can find out how many times and which parts of your identity may have been compromised — birth dates to Social Security numbers and fingerprints.

In addition to the quiz, The New York Times piece has suggestions for what to do if you find yourself at risk, some steps to protect yourself in the future and why data breaches continue occurring. The following has been excerpted from the Times’ story and edited to fit our format. You may find the full article and quiz by clicking on this link.

In case of compromise…

Review your account statements for any fraudulent purchases, as well as your credit report. Make sure you have different passwords for different accounts: in particular, don’t use the same password for your bank accounts, email and e-commerce accounts. If you were the victim of more than one breach, some security experts recommend freezing your credit. To do so, call Equifax, Experian or TransUnion and ask to have your account frozen. The credit agency will mail you a one-time PIN or password to unfreeze your account later. If you plan on applying for a new job, renting an apartment or buying insurance, you will have to thaw a freeze temporarily and pay a fee to refreeze the account.

Make it harder for the bad guys

Turn on two-factor authentication, whenever possible. Most banking sites and ones like Google, Apple, Twitter and Facebook offer two-factor authentication. Change your passwords frequently and do not use the same password across websites. [Monitor] your bank accounts and credit report. Do not enter sensitive information into websites that do not encrypt your connection. Look for a lock symbol next to the web address whenever entering sensitive information and do not enter it if you cannot see the lock symbol.

Reasons for data breaches

The Internet was built for openness and speed, not for security. As more and more services, infrastructure and personal information move online, they have all become targets for hackers, who constantly scan the Internet for potential security holes and entry points.

At government agencies, old, out-of-date systems and budget shortfalls have left information vulnerable. Security experts say there is no way to keep hackers out of systems with traditional defenses like firewalls and antivirus software. With breaches now the norm, organizations are finally moving towards more modern defenses, like monitoring software that can pick up unusual network….

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