Data breaches seem to be happening more frequently than ever. But just because you don't think you're personally affected, you may want to think again.
3 On Your Side profiled a college student recently whose personal information was hacked into and it's been a nightmare for her.
“It was my worst nightmare,” says Kristen O’Neall.
In a previous 3 On Your Side report, we told you how Northern Arizona University college student Kristen O'Neall, became a hacking victim when someone tapped into her iCloud account.
As a result, all of Kristine's personal information like pictures and passwords were exposed.
“Got into my notes and my Snapchat password was in there, my bank, my social everything. Had my pictures, they had my messages, they had my location, my friends’ locations, my Facetimes, everything.”
But with facial recognition, passwords and other security measures available, how can something like this happen?
“We've got it, they want it and they're gonna go after it whatever they can and we have to be on guard against it,” said Adam Levin, founder of CyberScout.
Levin says while hacking into iCloud accounts is usually pretty tough, it is possible. And much of the information needed to hack your account may be floating around from numerous various sources.
Think of it as pieces of a puzzle that a hacker puts together.
“Not the easiest thing in the world but if your information is already out there because you use the same log in information that you use on other websites, that, combined with other information that you over-share on social media could give a hacker or a scammer whatever they need to convince Apple or somebody else that they are you.”
For O’Neall, she couldn't understand why she would even be targeted by a hacker. After all, she says she’s just your average, simple college student.
But, Levin says that doesn't matter.
“A lot of people think they're just a regular human being, that no one in the world would be interested in them. But what we all have to understand when it comes to hackers and scammers each and every one of us are Kim Kardashian. We got what they want. Whether it's Social Security information, financial information, or intimate information that can be used against us.”
And all that information can wreak havoc on your life.
“Your information could be used to open accounts, to get medical treatment in your name, to commit crime in your name so it is not a good place to be.”
Levin says we're all vulnerable so what do you do to try and reduce your risk?
“You need to change your passwords to long and strong passwords. You need to enable two-factor authentication so you're notified anytime someone is attempting to log into any of your accounts using your information.”
He also says remove all private and sensitive information like any risqué photos and video. Social Security numbers and any kind of passwords.
And, he says it's OK to lie with some security information to protect your cyber identity.
“Specific log-on information and security questions, lie like a superhero. Clark Kent does not tell everyone he's Superman. Bruce Wayne doesn't tell everyone he's Batman, be creative."
Levin says with all kinds of data breaches happening, much of your information is already floating around, so it's imperative you step up cyber-hygiene because these hackers won't stop.
“We all have day jobs, whatever it is, school. work, families, philanthropic activities, we're all distracted but to a hacker or a scammer we are their day job.”
Another thing Levin suggests is setting up a password with your cell phone provider.
“So that no one can convince someone at your mobile provider that they're you and get your phone number transferred to another device which has happened.”
And he says if you’ve had your social security number compromised, you might want to consider some type of identity monitoring program which will tell you every time your social security number is used.
O’Neall is now working with a CyberScout fraud investigator to assist her in this hacking matter.
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