The leak of 143 million US consumer social security info by Equifax has intrigued great concern over the Internet safety. As if 143 million leaked social security numbers are not enough, Equifax said that the criminals also accessed approximately 209,000 US consumers’ credit card numbers. And what’s more, it is also identified that there was unauthorized access to personal information for the certain UK and Canadian residents.
This catastrophic Equifax leak closely follows Instagram, whose 6 million users’ info was stolen on Sep 4. Victims’ phone number and email address are for sale online last time.
But this time, it is worse, with nearly 44 percent US citizens affected. Now with the exact credit information, ranging from full names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses to even driver license numbers, theft can easily get the most of the information banks, insurance companies, and other businesses use to confirm consumers are who they claim to be. The information could allow criminals to create or take over any accounts of the 143 million people.
It is said that Equifax is the worst leak ever. But next month, who will come up with the newest worst one?
It can no longer be alright for us to treat the Internet as a useful and harmless tool. Every time you get online, you are under continuous attack by hackers, spammers even anyone who want to do evil. And it is clear that banks, security breaches even government cannot guarantee your information safety anymore.
Privacy remains your own responsibility.
The leak is not something “unfortunate and unavoidable downside” as news-times writer said. It is something you can and should avoid in your everyday life by doing the following terms.
Here are some steps you can take to protect your online safety.
- Use secure passwords for all your accounts, including your online shopping accounts. Do not use passwords such as birthdate, full name and 123456. It is really easy to crack.
- Monitor your money and credit card usage regularly.
- Know how to freeze your credit in case of sudden occasions.
- Use a reliable VPN when surfing online. This is certainly the easiest and cheapest way to keep your online privacy and safety for all the time.