A data breach is when personal data from a service or system is taken, or stolen, by an unauthorized third party. Emails, passwords, security questions, usernames, and other personal information can be collected in a data breach and sold to hackers. This sounds scary, but there are many ways to protect your data and take control of your privacy.
This post is written by Fastmail, a privacy-focused email that you can trust. At Fastmail, we worry about data breaches so you don’t have to. Your inbox is free of surveillance and spam with Fastmail, and our privacy features make it easy to protect your data from being leaked. Adding Sanebox to your Fastmail account makes for an organized, data-safe email that promotes productivity and peace of mind.
1. Never Reuse Passwords
We all have that go-to password that we have been using for every new account since middle school. Unfortunately, if this password is involved in a data breach, hackers apply this password across multiple platforms hoping to get access to other accounts and personal information. To protect your email and other accounts, never use the same password for multiple accounts or websites. Creating and storing unique passwords is easy when you use a password manager like 1Password. Password managers can suggest strong passwords and save your login information on your favorite browser. The likelihood of these passwords being leaked in a data breach is much smaller, and your data is encrypted so only you have access. Using a password manager keeps you safer and more organized!
2. Use Masked Email
Masked Email by Fastmail allows you to keep your personal email address private. This privacy feature allows you to create new email addresses for each website you sign up for. These individualized addresses keep your personal address hidden, and messages sent to Masked Email addresses are conveniently delivered to your main inbox. Having strong passwords keeps you safe, and now you can pair a unique email address with each new account you create. These addresses are linked to only one website; if they’re leaked in a data breach, your personal data is not at risk. In collaboration with 1Password, Masked Email protects your identity online!
3. Practice Good Cyber Hygiene
Cyber Hygiene is a term coined by Troy Hunt, an accomplished security software developer and creator of Have I Been Pwned? Cyber Hygiene involves incorporating mindfulness and security practices that help you stay safe online. An example of good Cyber Hygiene is being particular about which websites you give your personal data to. Be sure a website is secure and legitimate before providing your email address, birthday, or full name. Then, use a Masked Email address and a strong, individual password when creating an account.
4. Trust the Experts
Experts in cyber security and software developers practice these online habits and recommend their users do the same.
“First of all, don’t use the same password everywhere you go, it’s not secure, and it puts you and your private information at risk. I hope at this point everybody is already using unique passwords but, realistically, I know they’re not.” – Ricardo Signes, Fastmail CTO
Signes believes it’s safer to keep them stored in your password manager and combine those unique passwords with individual email addresses for each service. Security and privacy go hand in hand, and Signes delves into the importance of protecting your data on the Digital Citizen podcast by Fastmail. Listen now to learn more!
5. Stay Informed and Use 2 Factor Authentication
Now you know how to protect yourself from data breaches, but how do you know if your data has already been compromised? Staying informed is crucial to protecting your online privacy. Have I Been Pwned? is a great resource to check if your credentials have been involved in a data breach. Once you know that your information has been leaked, you can change your passwords for those accounts and add extra layers of security. 2FA, 2 Factor Authentication, creates a barrier of protection between hackers and your personal data. With 2FA turned on, you will be notified if any unauthorized third parties are trying to gain access to your accounts.
Your personal data is valuable. Taking these steps to protect your information and online identity will ensure you have a safe and secure experience online.
Protect Your Privacy
At Fastmail, privacy and security are our top priorities. As our world changes and the internet evolves, we continue to put you first and create features that protect your data and improve your email experience. Fastmail has the best privacy features email has to offer. Try it free for 30 days and reclaim your email!
For more in-depth info on how data breaches work and ways to upgrade your cyber security, check out Fastmail’s conversations with Troy Hunt on Digital Citizen!
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