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Verizon Report: Consumers, Businesses Need to Safeguard Important Data

by on ‎07-28-2010 09:25 AM

1316iA8ADB43932BAE696Verizon Business just released its 2010 Data Breach Investigations Report that looks at more than 900 data breaches of the IT systems of banks, retail and hospitality business, among others.

 

The report (.pdf), which is based on a first-of-its-kind collaboration with the U.S. Secret Service, concludes that organized crime is behind many of these data thefts. It’s a strong reminder not only to businesses but also to consumers that protecting financial and personal information is a never-ending exercise.

 

Wade Baker, one of the authors of the report and a Verizon security expert, offers the following tips to consumers about protecting their personal information. You can also listen to him describe the tips here.

 

1. Use unique passwords for each website you visit, including your favorite shopping site and online bank account. This will limit any breach to just one website, should thieves obtain access to your password.

 

2. Check for security measures your bank or a retailer uses for online transactions.  This will provide some assurance that the businesses are actively trying to prevent cybercriminals from hacking into your account information.

 

3. Thoroughly review all your credit card and bank statements when you receive them.  This will help tip you off to unauthorized access to these accounts.  Even a small unexplained charge or withdrawal should raise a red flag as thieves may, over time, steal small amounts from thousands of accounts, rather than cleaning out a single account, in hopes of going unnoticed longer.  The theft of $4 from a thousand accounts is the same to the thief as $4,000 from a single account.

 

4. Monitor your credit history.  If someone has stolen personal information, such as your Social Security number, it can be used to apply for credit cards in your name.   You can check to see whether this has occurred by using one of a number of services that provide free access to your credit reports; or you can subscribe to a paid service that will monitor the credit reports for you.

 

5. If you have the option of using a credit or debit card, opt for the credit card. – In general, credit cards offer more protection for consumers. Thieves who get your debit card information can use it to quickly empty your bank accounts.

 

6. If you must use your debit card, select the credit card option that doesn’t require you to enter your PIN.  Most machines will accept it this way.

 

7. Closely inspect an ATM machine before using it.   Using a technique known as ATM skimming, thieves sometimes attach their own card-reading devices to a card-swiping slot on an ATM machine to steal your card information.  If a machine appears to have been altered or the card-swiper appears to have been tampered with, use another machine.

 

8. In general, for any self-service kiosk where you swipe your card at the time of purchase, make sure that the machine has not been tampered with.  If it has, take your business elsewhere, or complete the transaction later online or by phone.

 

9. Ask for a credit freeze. – If you suspect your personal information has been stolen, you can request the three credit bureaus freeze access to your credit file, which will prevent thieves from opening new accounts with your stolen information.

 

By following these and other common-sense measures, Baker says, consumers can take an active role in their own defense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About The Authors

Bob Elek

Manager - Media Relations

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Bob stays on top of developments and issues with Verizon’s Consumer and Mass Business segment from his home base in Florida. He has been involved with FiOS since it was first being developed and deployed in 2004.

Alberto Canal

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Alberto is in the public relations group. He loves to share tech, sustainability, feel-good, and random news of interest. A happy FiOS quad play customer, he likes to use his family as guinea pigs.

Deidre Hart

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Deidre is a member of the consumer PR team and loves to talk everything FiOS and everything football. She’s also a happy Triple Play customer.

Phil Santoro

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Phil has been extolling the virtues of FiOS ever since he had his Triple Play installed and can’t image how he ever managed without it. He writes about developing technologies that enable him to fuel his addiction to movies and sports whenever he wants, no matter where he is.

Caroline Wilson

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Caroline manages the Verizon FiOS Google+ page, capturing the latest in entertainment, technology, sports and everything in between. She loves using social media and the written word to extend the FiOS conversation.

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