Newsletter Subscribe

Bringing you thought leadership, news, infographics, resources and our own brand of comics each week to your inbox...

3 Ways To Protect Your Financial Data

3 Ways To Protect Your Financial Data

Cybersecurity

Recent retail foibles have us all a bit on edge about our personal data. High-profile security breaches at Target and on SnapChat remind us it can happen anywhere, to anyone. It leaves us marveling a bit (not in a good way) at how a simple transaction can cause a great deal of angst in the weeks after it.

I never go to Target,” one friend said at a post-holiday party to me. “But I did just before Christmas. Not even for gifts, but for shampoo. And I used my debit card.

“So now, I’m checking my statement every day, calling about the balance, hoping the bank is also keeping an eye out for me …”

Retailers and social-media administrators work hard to protect your data, and breaches like the ones Snapchat and Target recently experienced are nightmares for those entities. The problem is, hackers and scammers work just as hard to beat the system and get to your data.

There’s no such thing as “hacker proof,” it turns out.

Here’s what happened

1. Target

Hackers accessed data for as many as 40 million credit and debit cards used at Target locations in December, including encrypted data that contained personal identification numbers. Target claims the PIN data is not at risk, but cybercrime experts still warn against potential of risk.

Action: Target offers free credit monitoring for those who might have been affected by the breach. If you were affected, that’s not much help now, but at least you’re protected from another attack.

2. SnapChat

This photo-messaging app predicated on privacy – messages disappear after they’re seen – was breached with a “find friends” feature that revealed data for 4.6 million users. Although this breach had no financial implications, the compromise was of concern to many SnapChat customers.

Action: Site administrators issued a new version of the app that allowed users to opt out of the “find friends” feature.

Here’s what you can do to protect yourself

Here are three things you can do today to help keep yourself a step ahead of the bad guys.

1. Register for free credit monitoring

Companies such as Credit Karma will protect against identity theft and unauthorized purchases. It monitors your credit nightly, and sends an email if anything unusual appears, including new accounts opened in your name. Credit Karma also safeguards against inaccurate credit reports.

Bonus: In the market for financial services? Credit Karma also offers consumer reviews for credit cards, mortgages and insurance purchases too.

2. Protect your data—physically and online

Your social security card should never live in your wallet. Also, your passwords and usernames shouldn’t be kept on a piece of paper, in your wallet, car or home. Never give out your social security number to anyone who calls you and claims they’re from your financial institution.

Banks, credit card providers, and utility companies will never do that. In the wake of the Target breach, companies like Verizon and Wells Fargo have even proactively notified their customers that they never solicit information via email or phone call.

Bonus: Multi-platform app LastPass manages and encrypts passwords across all your services.

3. Set up mobile alerts

Some financial institutions, such as Citizens Bank, offer mobile alerts of any account activity. These services will send you a message if your account balance dips below a specified amount, signal a check clearance, and even send your five most recent transactions on a schedule you set.

Most national banks and large credit card companies offer similar services, so take advantage of them.

Bonus: Consider changing your debit card’s PIN number on biannually or annually, or if you suspect your information was released in a breach like Target’s. Although PIN information is encrypted once you enter it on the keypad, it’s good peace of mind to actively change the first wall of defense from someone withdrawing money in your name from an ATM.

4. Protect your network

Keep your electronic data safe from prying eyes at home by securing your WiFi network. Many Internet providers include wireless routers with their service. Setting a protected network is easy, and worth the five minutes spent.

Data stored on the cloud is vulnerable to hackers. Massachusetts Institution of Technology researchers have developed protection against hacks to memory-access pattern analysis (the means by which computers store and access data) by broadcasting false information to remote server data requests.

Bonus: When you don’t have other people jumping on your wireless service, you could experience faster speeds. Lock up that wireless signal!

By Alexis Caffrey

Alexis is a freelance writer with a focus on technology, new media, and design . You can reach Alex via @AlexisCaffrey or alexiscaffrey.com.

About CloudTweaks

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading authorities in connected technology information and services.

We embrace and instill thought leadership insights, relevant and timely news related stories, unbiased benchmark reporting as well as offer green/cleantech learning and consultive services around the world.

Our vision is to create awareness and to help find innovative ways to connect our planet in a positive eco-friendly manner.

In the meantime, you may connect with CloudTweaks by following and sharing our resources.

CloudTweaks Comic
Philips spotlights connected technology, predictive analytics software, and artificial intelligence advancing population health and precision medicine at HIMSS 2017 AMSTERDAM, Feb. 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Featuring new and enhanced connected health offerings at the 2017 HIMSS Conference & Exhibition (HIMSS17), Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG,AEX: PHIA), a global leader in health technology, will showcase a broad range of population health management, ...
Read More
Cupertino, California — Apple today announced its 28th annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) — hosting the world’s most talented developer community — will be held at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose. The conference, kicking off June 5, will inspire developers from all walks of life to turn their passions into the next great innovations and apps that customers ...
Read More
When Cisco Systems Inc. reports earnings Wednesday, the big question will be if the networking giant’s repeated gambles on software can reverse a yearlong sales slide, or at least point to a reversal of that trend in the future. Cisco CSCO, +1.06%  is scheduled to report fiscal second-quarter earnings less than a month after announcing its latest multibillion-dollar software acquisition, ...
Read More
Offering Integrated and Automated Solutions, Expansive Partner Ecosystem, Advanced Architecture with Cross-Industry Collaboration SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 14, 2017 – Today Intel Security outlined a new, unifying approach for the cybersecurity industry that strives to eliminate fragmentation through updated integrated solutions, new cross-industry partnerships and product integrations within the Intel Security Innovation Alliance and Cyber Threat Alliance (CTA). “Transforming isolated technologies ...
Read More
IoT Enablement, Analytics Offer Strong Monetisation Opportunities HAMPSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwired - February 13, 2017) - A new study from Juniper Research has calculated that mobile network operators can realise an additional $85 billion in revenues over the next five years through the deployment and enhancement of non-core services including Big Data analytics and IoT (Internet of Things) enablement. Operators "Can ...
Read More