Hacker seriesTHE HACKERS SERIES

October 7, 2021by Compsudev0

TAKE FURTHER STEPS TO PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY

When significant data breaches happen where high-risk data is at stake, there’s often talk about credit reports. Some companies may even be required to provide credit monitoring as part of its breach notification requirements. Security experts recommend you check your credit reports for suspicious activity. To protect your identity, they also recommend you freeze your credit. Here’s what that means and why it’s important.

WHAT’S A CREDIT REPORT? DO I HAVE ONE?

If you’ve ever rented an apartment, opened a bank account, or applied for a credit card or a loan, you likely have a credit report.

In fact, you have three credit reports. Each one holds a report on you that contains personal information about your credit history. Your credit reports contain:

  • Personal identifying information, such as your name, past and current addresses, and date of birth.
  • Current and past credit accounts, such as credit cards, mortgages, student loans, and auto loans.
  • Inquiry information, which are instances in which you’ve applied for new loans or credit cards.
  • Bankruptcies and collection information.
  • Your credit report does not include your credit score.

WHY SHOULD YOU CHECK YOUR CREDIT REPORTS ONCE A YEAR?

Having your information exposed in a data breach puts you at risk of identity theft. If someone steals your identity and tries to open new cards or loans in your name, it will appear on your credit reports. Each bureau may have slightly different information, which is why it’s important to check all three regularly.

CHECKING YOUR OWN CREDIT REPORT WILL NOT AFFECT YOUR SCORE.

You will never be penalized for checking your own report or your own credit score. Checking your report does not impact your score in any way. Though the information on your credit report directly impacts your score, reports don’t actually contain your score.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR TO SPOT SIGNS OF IDENTITY THEFT

. Make sure:

  • All the accounts listed are ones you personally opened.
  • All addresses listed and your employer are correct.
  • Your balances and credit history are correct.
  • All hard credit inquiries are from loans or credit cards you applied for. Soft inquiries may be listed, which are from pre-approved credit card offers.

NEXT STEP: BLOCK UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS TO YOUR CREDIT REPORT WITH A CREDIT FREEZE.

Placing a freeze on your credit report is the most effective method to stop identity thieves in their tracks. It’s completely free with all three bureaus and will not affect your credit cards, credit report, or credit score. You can continue using your cards as you were before.

Freezing your credit report means only you can apply for new cards or loans. No one else will be able to do this in your name. It’s like putting a lock on your credit report, and only you have the key. You can unlock (or unfreeze) your credit report at any time. For example, you may want to open a new credit card. You can temporarily lift the freeze to do so, then refreeze your credit report again after.

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5 MYTHS ABOUT PASSWORD MANAGERS

Password managers are the most recommended tool by security experts to protect your online credentials from hackers. But many people are still hesitant to use them. Here’s why password managers are safe, secure, and your best defense against password-hungry cyber criminals.

What is a password manager?

Think of it like a safe for your passwords. When you need something inside the safe, you unlock it. Password managers work the same for your online credentials.

You create a single, super-strong password, which acts like a key. Install the password manager app on your phone, computer, browser, and other devices. Your passwords are securely stored inside. Anytime you need to log in to an account, unlock your password manager and retrieve your login info.

MYTH 1

PASSWORD MANAGERS AREN’T SAFE OR TRUSTWORTHY.

With website vulnerabilities and security incidents on the rise, many people have grown to mistrust a tech tool to manage their passwords. What if the password manager gets hacked?

Reputable password managers take extra steps to lock down your info and keep it safe from cyber criminals.

A good password manager:

  • Doesn’t know your primary password (so hackers can never steal it)
  • Only stores encrypted versions of your credentials and data on their servers
  • Does not store any of your data on their servers
  • Can generate strong, secure password

MYTH 2

PASSWORD MANAGERS AREN’T 100% SECURE, SO I SHOULDN’T USE IT

No tool can completely guarantee your online safety. Even the most elaborate lock can be broken into. Yet we still lock our doors to our houses and cars.

The alternative to using a password manager is to rely on your own memory to remember all your credentials. This inevitably leads to recycling passwords or using variations — a bad habit that hackers love.

Password managers can be such an effective security tool because they help us improve bad habits. With a password manager installed on your computer and phone, it’s a lot easier to take your logins everywhere so you can use unique, strong passwords on every account.

MYTH 3

STORING ALL MY PASSWORDS IN ONE PLACE MAKES THEM VULNERABLE TO HACKERS

Password managers don’t store all your credentials together in one place. Any data you store in a password manager — passwords, logins, security questions, and other sensitive info — is securely encrypted. Even if the password manager gets hacked, cyber criminals would not be able to see your logins.

The only way to access your data is with a single primary password that only you know. You use this password to unlock the manager on your computer, phone, or other devices. Once it’s unlocked, a password manager can fill in your logins to websites and apps.

MYTH 4

REMEMBERING ALL MY PASSWORDS IS BETTER THAN TRUSTING A TECHNOLOGY TO KEEP IT FOR ME

Our memories sometimes fail us. Ever clicked a “forgot password?” link? It’s very common to use variations of the same password to make them easier to remember. With a password manager, you don’t need to remember any of your credentials. It can be installed on all your devices and will auto-fill your passwords for you. Once you get in the habit of using one, you’ll no longer have to worry about forgetting your credentials.

MYTH 5

IT’S A HUGE PAIN TO SET UP A PASSWORD MANAGER

Sure, it takes time to log all your credentials in a password manager. But you don’t need to do it all at once. You can always start small and change just a few passwords at a time. Try installing a password manager and creating new, unique passwords for the websites you visit most frequently. Over time, as you log in to other sites, you can add others.

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