How Can Consumers Protect Their Data During the Holiday Shopping Season?

Experts Report: Director of the Center for Cyber Security and Forensics Education Maurice Dawson

December 6, 2018

TRANSCRIPT

With all the recent data breaches it is hard for consumers really to, I guess, get more control of it. So what an individual can do is they can limit what they actually provide, and they can just provide the necessary information. Unfortunately, it is the organization that is being breached, not the individual, so it’s the organization. They have to worry about are they actually making sure that their database is secure, are they making sure there are no weaknesses found, and if there’s an actual weakness that it’s being patched as soon as possible. And, like I said, it’s really the organization.

The individual can limit what they provide, but when you look at recent breaches such as the Marriott Starwood, which is 500 million users, these are individuals signing up for a service and they’re expecting that that information doesn’t get breached. And so, like I said, it’s the organization.

One of the things I want to tell users of any type of technology: make sure you frequently change your passwords. You do not just rotate your passwords. One of the issues with these cyber breaches, the data breaches in general, is that individuals will take a password and just rotate various accounts. So you have two various organizations that are breached, perhaps it’s a shared password between the two. Or that maybe in six months you rotate one password to the other account that hasn’t been breached yet. So this is your issue. So you have to really think about password management as an individual in the event that something like this does happen.

But whenever a breach does happen check to see if your data has been exposed and immediately change passwords to all of your accounts and then limit what you have linked. Facebook allows you to link to a lot of sites—if you have Airbnb you can link it to Facebook—with your Google, if you have a Gmail you can link it to a ton of other sites. So limit to what you’re linking to with your emails and stuff like that.