As the magnitude of the Equifax hack sinks in, more people are realizing they've been victimized and cyber security specialists are being inundated with calls and questions about what to do next.
itSynergy in Phoenix has three ways to take action and protect yourself:
- Update your banking security alerts. Most have come up with new layers of security, for example, you can get an alert when a check over a thousand dollars cashes.
- Consider a credit freeze. If you're not planning to buy a car, a house, take out a loan anytime soon or open a card at Nordstrom, freeze your credit so no more accounts can be opened in your name. You can still use your cards, and a little leg work will lift the freeze if you do find you need a line of credit.
- Sign up for the free credit monitoring that Equifax is offering. President and CEO of itSynergy, Michael Cocanower, says the long term benefit far outweighs being able to take part in a potential class action lawsuit.
“Five years from now you may get a check for ten dollars as a member of the class. So will you forgo that ten dollars, yes, but is a year of free credit monitoring service worth it? It is,” said Cocanower.
The payout for hackers in the form of identity theft was in the millions which is why they're coming up with new ways to breach sensitive data all the time.
Cocanower says we all know about putting malware software on our computers, but we don't think about it for our phones.
Once in, bad guys have access to any personal info you keep on your phone, maybe your banking app or PayPal app with the auto sign-on. If you access your work email on your phone and someone sends you a sensitive document at work, it doesn’t matter if they put all the security patches on it if you open that on your phone it can be hacked.
Hackers will also turn new apps against you.
“A lot of times we download an app, and it comes with a huge screen of 26 different permissions....you've got to kind of think through that,” said Cocanower.
Once a month itSynergy has a 15-minute, free webinar so you can learn about the latest trends and how to protect yourself.