4 Steps to Reduce Personal Data Exposure to Cyber Criminals

This October marks the 20th anniversary of Cybersecurity Awareness Month in the U.S. With nearly half (47%) of Americans having had personal data such as Social Security numbers and addresses exposed by cyber criminals, the need for proactive steps to protect this information has never been greater.

2023 so far is also an all-time-high for the average cost of a data breach—$4.45 million. More than  half of organizations are spending more on cybersecurity infrastructure, according to IBM.

According to new research by the NCA and CybSafe, 36% of American respondents acknowledged they have been victims of one or more cybercrimes. Four steps can help reduce the threat:

Implement password best practices

Using strong passwords and/or a password manager to generate secure, random passwords. Because password managers encrypt your credentials and store them in an encrypted form hackers can only access encrypted data in the event of a data breach.

Utilize multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication keeps data and systems secure by adding roadblocks that stop cybercriminals. According to Microsoft, multi-factor authentication can prevent 99.9% of account hacks.

Recognize phishing

It’s estimated that 3.4 billion phishing emails are sent globally every day.Never provide your personal information in response to an unsolicited request, whether it is over the phone or over the Internet such as via email.

Updating software

Staying up to date on software updates is worth the time to protect individuals and businesses from cyber threats. Many regular software updates include critical security updates which are meant to remediate vulnerabilities that could be exploited by cybercriminals. These updates are created because critical vulnerabilities have either been recently discovered or recently exploited.

While there is an increasing number of people utilizing and taking multi-factor authentication seriously, half of Americans do not have access to cybersecurity training programs. By taking a few proactive steps, individuals can further protect their personal data from falling into the wrong hands.

By utilizing tools like MyPrivacy360, consumers can rest assured that they have an additional layer of protection ensuring their personally identifiable information (PII) is secure and safeguarded from cybercriminals.