People read about massive data leaks every day. Marriott announced 500 million compromised accounts, Quora – 100 million accounts just a few days apart. The numbers seem unimaginable. In the US only, annually there are over 130 targeted large-scale breaches, and the number is growing by 27% each year.

Similar news is so prevalent that even the most security-conscious minds can experience the so-called data breach fatigue – an acceptance or apathetic tendencies toward breach events.

Numb to Growing Threats

Data breaches turn into background noise that people don’t really pay too much attention to. Gradually, the public begins losing interest at all.

The results are terrifying. Studies show that people don’t change passwords, even if they know that their accounts have been compromised, nor do they tend to sign up for identity theft protection programs.

“When a data breach happens they’re not motivated to take any corrective or protective action,” says Rui Chen, an associate professor of information systems in ISU’s Ivy College of Business.

First comes the shock, then the fear and soon – the apathy. In 2015, the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) lost more 4.2 million personnel files and other sensitive documents. Chen and his team used sentiment-analysis tools to study 18 764 tweets containing the hashtag #OPMHack.

Researchers concluded, that soon after the hack, the public lost interest in the event – in two months, the drop-off rate hit 84%.

What Should You Do After a Data Breach to Minimize the Risk

Treating data breaches as normal is very dangerous. If people don’t acknowledge data breaches seriously, they won’t secure themselves and thus leave even more cracks for more breaches to happen. While people are tuning out, criminals get more persistent and creative, their methods improve.

On top of violation of privacy, the damage of data breach fatigue goes even further. If people don’t care about it, of course, the lawmakers won’t have any motivation to strengthen laws as well.

And this, again, makes the hackers’ job easier as after attacks there won’t be appropriate punishments for what they’ve done.

A few necessary solutions can help to change the negative impact of a breach dramatically:

– Determine what information was stolen. Companies typically inform their clients (or users) on what kind of data was compromised. It can vary from your old and forgotten email account login credentials to the Social Security Numbers or home addresses.

– Change your password, consider getting a password manager and always turn on two-factor authentication. It’s a basic 3-step rule that applies to every situation and makes hackers job a lot harder.

If your bank account details were compromised, monitor your accounts for any unusual changes. Although it’s complicated to get into your bank account, his can still happen. Sometimes you may not even notice at first. Especially during the weekends. Professional credit card thieves typically act on weekends because banks don’t work and it’s easier to go through with the transaction. If you notify your bank before the criminal does anything fraudulent, your money is safe. But it gets difficult once malicious actors have already done something, plus, you may pay for fraudulent charges.

– Report your financial loses, if any, to the relevant institutions (like bank, police, credit-reporting bureaus, etc.).

– Use a VPN. They encrypt your traffic and secure your personal information. Especially, if you often connect to the internet using free public WiFi.

Have any questions about what to do after a data breach? Drop us a line in the comment section below.

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