Are You Suffering from Breach Fatigue?
Have you heard of ‘breach fatigue’? It’s a curious name for a condition you may not even realize you have. Forbes reported from January through August of 2019 that there have been 3,800 data breaches with 4.1 billion records exposed. According to the Privacy Rights Clearing House, since 2005 there have been 9,693 breaches with over 11.6 billion records exposed. We hear countless media stories about the largest data breaches for days and even weeks after they occur. It’s no wonder that the news of another breach starts fading into the background noise along with the house fires, traffic accidents and random acts of violence we seem to hear about daily. Alas…breach fatigue.
Naturally, breach fatigue will tend to shift some people’s attitude from “constant vigilance” to a more halfhearted approach to protecting their business and personal data. The thinking, “there’s not much I can do about it so why care?” is part of why hackers continue to successfully pull off cybercrimes. The best way to beat breach fatigue is to get ahead of it.
You must consider that for every large breach you hear about there are many more that aren’t publicized until the notice shows up in your email inbox. Much like a hurricane, a data breach is a force of nature: it’s rarely targeted towards you personally, but you’ll have to deal with the fallout when it happens. So why not put some shutters on your windows, lay down some sandbags and do what you can to mitigate the damage? If you’ve taken steps in advance of the breach ‘storm’, the cleanup becomes much easier.
Tips to minimize the damage of a data breach:
Don’t reuse passwords/passphrases. It’s such basic advice, but we see folks every day who use the same password for their work computer, bank accounts, social media, etc. If one of your accounts get breached, every other place where you use that password can be hacked.
Install a password manager. This is the most robust way to protect your various accounts. It takes a little time to set up, but ultimately it becomes a huge timesaver—especially if you’re involved in a data breach. Check out our step-by-step guide to installing a password manager.
Don’t lose hope. Just because you can’t stop a breach doesn’t mean you can’t protect yourself when and if it happens.
Hopefully you’ll never be involved in a data breach. But if you’ve taken the right steps, when you hear that your credentials have been compromised, you’ll be relieved to know that you only have to change one password.
Does installing a password manager take a little time? Of course, but unfortunately the odds aren’t in your favor if you think you’re going to avoid a data breach. At some point you’ll probably be breached no matter what you do. Ultimately, the devastation of the breach is up to you. If you’ve been proactive and gotten out of the typical ‘fatigue’ mindset, you can prevent most of the damage done to your accounts before a breach happens.