Safeguarding info from large hacks

The news of data breaches continues to riddle the news almost daily. It can be alarming when you know you may have been a victim of one or more of these breaches.

As we know, it has not just been retailers; it has been apps, social media and even social services. The question comes to mind how can I protect my information?

Recently, 150 million users of the MyFitnessPal app were notified that the app was breached and an unknown entity accessed their information. The information affected people’s usernames, email addresses and passwords. In an email sent by MyFitnessPal to their users, they carefully explained that they are taking steps to determine how this happened and that they are working with leading data security firms to assist in the investigation. They are requiring all customers to change their passwords, as well as encouraging all those using the app to monitor the personal information for unusual activity. It was also clear that they would not be sending emails with links or attachments, and if their clients received those, they should delete them immediately.

Your Better Business Bureau suggests safeguarding not only our personal information online but also safeguarding your smartphone since so many of us use it daily to manage our lives. When deciding on passwords, use unique ones for each site or app you use, a good practice is mixing upper- and lower-case letters with symbols and numbers. Invest in security software for your phone just like your computer can protect against viruses and malware

The BBB also advises downloading updates frequently to make sure any bugs are fixed immediately and giving you the latest security updates. Turn off your services when you are not using them, such as WIFI, GPS, Bluetooth, since these are the avenues hackers use to get into your phone.

It is important to know that whether your information is hacked off an app you were using on your phone or from a store you shop at when you hear of one of these data breaches immediately go to your checking and credit card accounts to look for fraudulent activity. Keep checking back frequently in case scammers wait awhile.

Checking your credit report often after these breaches can help you see if accounts have been opened in your name. The Federal Trade Commission has only authorized one site to provide a free annual credit report, annualcreditreport.com.

For more information about BBB and the cybersecurity resources available to both businesses and consumers, go to BBB.org/cybersecurity.


Jeremy Johnson is the eastern Idaho marketplace manager for Better Business Bureau, serving the Northwest and Pacific. Contact her at by emailing jeremy.johnson@thebbb.org.


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