Consumers are wondering what to do in case of theft of personal information or alleged attack.
The government speaks of an “upsurge” in the number of attacks targeting “individuals but also businesses and administrations”. According to a recent study, 13.7 million French people were victims of a cyberattack in 2016. So if it happened that access to your bank account, to Facebook or to your courier is compromised, and that people ill-intentioned can access it, here are the good habits to adopt:
1. Strengthen your passwords and authentication process
It is recommended that you change your login information regularly, create complex passwords, and follow some good practices. For example, do not use the same ID for multiple accounts. And if possible, create passwords of at least 8 to 15 characters with a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
Also be sure to enable the two-factor authentication option if it is available. It sends a unique code to your smartphone or e-mail each time you connect. For email in particular, these changes help prevent identity theft and prevent hackers from using your real email account to target other victims.
2. Protect your personal email account
Your email box is extremely valuable. If a hacker attacks your personal email after stealing your identity, an immediate threat hangs over all your contacts. The passwords of your other accounts (bank accounts, social networks, mobile payment settings and much more …) could also be reset without your knowledge … By taking advantage of your personal email accounts, cybercriminals exploit the digital trust that exists between the sender and the recipient of the email.
If you suspect a hacking of your email account, change your password immediately. Then notify your contacts: Remind them that they should not click any links and ask them to delete the email they received from you and update their anti-virus and anti-malware software. Finally, if you click on a malicious link or have other reasons to believe that you have been the victim of malware, contact a cyber security expert and ask him to check your computer.
3. Expect cybercriminals to impersonate a pirated brand and offer their “help”
Pirated brands generally use the email channel and social networks to warn potential victims of fraud. Unfortunately, cyber criminals know this and impersonate these brands after an attack to trap consumers who expect such communication. Cyber criminals indicate fake names in their emails or create fraudulent accounts on social networks to fool worried victims.
To ensure secure communications, you must call the company directly or visit their official website to log in to your account and immediately change your login information using a unique and desired password.
4. Beware of emails, websites, SMS and fraudulent calls
The canvas is riddled with people as malicious as creative. In the slightest doubt, contact the sender of the message via other means than email and most importantly, do not click on a link or a questionable attachment. An email from an unknown website? To escape absolutely!
It’s not because a website, an email, an SMS or even a phone call claims to come from a bank that it is legitimate. Check the URL of the sites (www.g00gle.com of course has nothing to do with www.google.com) or the domain name of the sender. By phone, check which service is contacting you, or call the official number to ask for this service directly. Remember that it is generally unlikely that you will be asked for confidential information by simple mail reply. To ensure the integrity of your data, make sure you have the latest versions of your software and install all security updates and patches. Also use up-to-date antivirus / anti-malware software.
5. If in doubt, lock your information
If in doubt about a possible hacking of one of your personal accounts, take the time to establish a list of all other accounts, websites or applications that may be threatened by the compromise of information related to this hacked account. As a precaution, change all the passwords of potentially involved services.
Unless you have monthly direct debits, contact your bank and block your payment cards if the doubt is too strong, or you already see suspicious movements in your account. Stay alert in the weeks following an attack or attempt, and monitor the status of your accounts regularly.
These tips will help you immediately mitigate the impact that an attack on your data may have on your personal life.