The recent news of a data breach involving more than 500 million Facebook users, coupled with recent warnings against sharing photos of COVID-19 vaccination record cards, is a good reminder for people to be careful with what they post online.
According to news reports, the data mined from the Facebook accounts was posted on a hacking forum for free. Included in the breach was the information of more than 32 million Facebook users in the United States. Among the information released were users’ phone numbers, Facebook IDs, full names, locations, birthdates, bios and, in some cases, email addresses.
Facebook said the data was from a 2019 breach and that the issue was fixed at the time. With so much of our personal information available online, it’s imperative that you monitor your data. Regular checks of your credit report can help you guard against identity theft.
Each of the three major credit reporting agencies are offering free weekly credit reports through April 2022. For more information, visit annualcreditreport.com.
Tips on securing private information online:
- Manage your privacy settings. Check the privacy and security settings on web services and apps and set them to your comfort level for information sharing. Each device, application or browser used will have different features to limit how and with whom you share information.
- Protect your personal information. Personal information, such as purchase history, IP address, or location, has tremendous value to businesses – just like money. Make informed decisions about whether or not to share data with certain businesses by considering the amount of personal information they are asking for, and weighing it against the benefits you may receive in return.
- Think before you give apps the OK. Many apps ask for access to personal information, such as geographic location, contacts list and photo album, before using their services. Be thoughtful about who gets that information, and wary of apps that require access to information that is not required or relevant for the services they are offering.
- Lock down your logins. For your online accounts, use the strongest authentication tools available. Your user names and passwords are not enough; consider two-factor authentication for key accounts like email, banking, and social media, especially for access on mobile devices.
- Report. If you believe you have been involved in ID theft, report what happened to BBB (bbb.org), the Federal Trade Commission (ftc.gov) and the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (ic3.gov)