How safe is my data after a hack or leak
On Tuesday, the UK’s elections watchdog reported it had been the victim of a “complex cyber-attack.” Millions of voters could have been affected by the attack.
Additionally, police officers’ personal details were accidentally published in Northern Ireland.
However, what can you do if you suspect your data has been leaked, and how can you prevent it from happening again?
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) should generally remove any identifying information when responding to Freedom of Information requests.
As a result, some officers and their families are concerned about their safety after the force accidentally published confidential details.
Average people, however, should not panic if their data is leaked or hacked.
On its website, the Electoral Commission apologizes to those affected by the cyber-attack, but states that the data it holds is “limited, and much of it is already public.”
The Information Commissioner’s Office [the data regulator] says that personal data on electoral registers, such as names and addresses, does not in itself pose a high risk to individuals.
Information like this could be coupled with other bits of information about you, such as what you share on social media, to identify you, but this would take a lot of time and cyber criminals will usually only target prominent individuals like this.
Most of this information will already be publicly available online unless you have opted out of being listed on the open electoral register.
Alternatively, if you are concerned about a different data breach and are worried that your information may have been lost, there are websites that tell you if your email was compromised.
To find out if you’ve been pwned, the Electoral Commission recommends using the free online service Have I Been Pwned (sic).
The best thing you can do if you suspect your password for an account is compromised is to change it.
It is important not to respond to any emails recommending this, as they could be scams – instead, visit the website normally and change your password there.
For this reason, it is also important to use different passwords for different accounts.
You are less likely to suffer serious consequences from a future hack by keeping different log-in credentials, as the hackers won’t be able to access more than one service at a time.
In order to prevent any data loss, people should also remain vigilant online.
Almost 90% of all scams occur on tech platforms, including dating apps, social media, and online marketplaces, according to research released by Barclays on Wednesday.
According to the report, these scams are on the rise, and tech platforms should shoulder some of the blame.
The unchecked growth of what is now the most common crime in the UK, hurting countless individuals, and costing our economy billions of dollars every year, is at risk without the cooperation of tech companies, the government, and regulators.
Data shows that tech platforms, particularly social media, are now the source of the majority of scams, but there is no current legislative or regulatory framework requiring the tech sector to assist in preventing these crimes.
However, there are some simple steps you can take to stay safe online, which can help you protect your data.