2014 – The Year of the Hack

Data Thieves are here to stay
Data Thieves are here to stay

Copyright Identity Theft Resource Center

2013 saw some pretty major hacks that were reported in the media, and many more that were not. However, 2014 is shaping up already to be the year with the most data breaches by number and the sheer amount of personal data that gets exposed. This doesn’t even count the Eric Snowden releases of top secret NSA data. If you click on every link in this article and read the information available, you will have come away with several things: Astonishment at the sheer number of hacks each year, some tools to help protect YOU and your data, and a better understanding of how hackers work. So let’s get started on that list!

First, I’m going to astound you with some information about specific companies, governments and other entities about their data breaches. As you read this list of companies and their breach statistics, keep in mind on the far right lists the known or reported number of records, however they all say “yes” in the column that records were exposed. Did you shop at any of those companies? Did you go to school at those universities? How about any of the medical facilities as a patient? Remember, this list is ONLY Jan-May of 2014.  Want to read about 2013 and their attacks? Check out this link and imagine what else is coming!

Now, let’s get some tools and education in your hands so that you can be better protected and better educated. I want to introduce you to the Identity Theft Resource Center (IDRC), which is a website you should bookmark, share with friends and family and stay current with (at least visit once a month if not more).  One of the best parts of  this website is the scams and alerts section. Next off, let’s take you over to Trend Micro’s site for a few links. If you’re ever not sure about if a URL is safe to visit, this URL checker is the place to start. Ever heard of botnets and wonder just how prevalent they really are? Check out this link, and while you’re there, download this nifty utility to make sure your pc isn’t a part of one of those botnets.

The moral of this story is that hacks and data breaches are here, they are becoming far more sophisticated and if you don’t keep up, you might as well ditch your electronic items and go back to paperback books, pen and paper because your data will eventually be stolen, and even worse, locked away from you to even access yourself.

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