IRS Breach Shows Importance Of Social Media Diligence
100,000 Households Compromised In Major Breach To IRS
In an interview with the Intercept about the data breach affecting the IRS (and other high profile data breaches), Lee Tien, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said that “the message I give journalists and others is there’s basically nothing you can do.”
Tien is referring to the idea that the architecture around our data leaves it vulnerable to third party access, or worse, hackers getting access to data they aren’t supposed to have. This problem is increasing.
A unique problem to the IRS issue is that the crooks had answers to questions posed in an authentication process. It is thought that some of this data may have been gained from shared information on social media or other websites.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t measures you can take to minimize the risks of digital identity theft. You can still lessen the chance of being a victim by staying diligent about your digital usage, and understanding how you can become a victim.
In the case of the IRS breach, there are some important things to consider when using Social Media and what information you give out.
- Always set your social media accounts to private. You’re already giving data to the social media platform that you’re using, why give it out to members you don’t know as well?
- Don’t accept “friends” or followers who you don’t know. This should be easy. There’s a difference between accepting a friend request on Facebook from someone you met at dinner with friends and accepting some random account that has very few details and no shared connections.
- Read the fine print when sharing via apps. Often by posting or sharing information through an app you are giving them access to all of the information you’ve previously shared, posts and list of friends.
- Don’t share random links that aren’t to a legitimate source, or an offer that is too good to be true. Too often, people are willing to share content without thinking about where it comes from. When that happens, not only do others gain access to your page, you are putting your friends in danger who follow the links that you’ve shared.
If you think your account has been compromised there are a few things to do right away.
- Change your password immediately and make sure that the password IS NOT being shared by any other online accounts. Also, change the password to any personal accounts that DO have the same password.
- Find out if any strange apps have been authorized to your account during the time your account has been compromised.
- Run a virus scan on your computer to make sure your PC has not been infected with a virus or other forms of spyware.
- Contact anyone who may also have been affected. Let your network know this has happened so they can also be on the lookout.
- Contact the social network support by phone or email.
With smart digital media skills and an understanding of how to keep your data safe you might not be able to eliminate the chance of becoming a victim of identity theft, but you can help to minimize your chances.
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