You’ve been hacked By Guy Williams
The bad news keeps on coming. All Yahoo accounts were hacked, more than half of all Americans were hacked in the Equifax breech and an anti-virus company, Kaspersky Labs, has sent your info to Moscow.
The cumulative number of big data breeches means that the odds are over 90 percent that some part of your personal information has been stolen. In the worst case, crooks will sell this information on the dark web and other crooks will use your personal data to steal your identity, file false tax returns, open credit cards in your name and ruin your credit.
The complexity of dealing with a stolen identity is truly mind boggling. It can sometimes take more than a year to get your records straight. In one recent case, a woman was arrested for passing bad checks. She was actually innocent, but the crooks left a trail of bad checks all over the north shore.
So, what should you do? If you use Kaspersky Labs anti-virus software, stop immediately. Cancel the subscription. Check the internet for tips on safely removing their software. If your computer is a little old, buy a new one and start fresh. Don’t transfer any old files. This is even more important if your company uses Kaspersky. You should also go to the Equifax site and lock your credit. This is easy. I did it in fifteen minutes. This will prevent anyone from opening accounts in your name. The unlock process is simple, so when you want credit, unlock your account, then relock once you receive the requested loan.
Change your passwords. I know that this is a pain, but you really need to make this change now. Use phrases and include characters and numbers. An even better solution is to use a password management system. I recommend Last Pass premium and Sticky Password premium, but there are other good services available. A password management system will create strong passwords for all of your sites. For your bank and financial sites, use a different and difficult password. No one wants their Facebook account hacked, but having your bank account hacked is much worse.
Finally, let’s talk about social media. Reconsider what you share. We recommend not filling out a profile page. Don’t list hometown, residence, schools, etc. This information can make it very easy for a hacker to steal your identity. Also, don’t post those vacation pictures until you return from vacation. Current vacation pictures and a full Facebook profile say, “look crooks, the Moutons are in Europe, come steal their stuff.”
Your cell phone can also be a source of way too much information. We recommend installing a program that with one click will disable the GPS. You really don’t want Google and every other app on your cell phone to track your every movement. Just turn the GPS on when you want to use it, otherwise marketers and others will be targeting you based upon where you go.
I hate to be paranoid, but the top intelligence agencies in the U.S. have been hacked. It is too easy for the crooks to access and sell your information. If you want to protect your privacy, you will need to take the initiative to help yourself.
Guy Williams is president and chief executive officer of Gulf Coast Bank and Trust Company. Their Kenner branch office is located at 3410 Williams Boulevard. Marcel Gonzalez, vice-president and branch manager can be contacted at 565-3656. Brian Behlar, vice president and commercial lender, can be contacted at 565-3661. Visit Gulf Coast Bank and Trust’s website at www.gulfbank.com.
Article Posted On: November 20, 2017 - By: Allie Munster