Guardio alerted me of a breached account. What's next?
Unfortunately, once your information is breached, there isn't a way to remove this information from the Internet. But, the good news is that because you're aware of the breach, you can take action to minimize the effects of the breach, like possible identity theft and other compromised accounts.
By the way, it might be easier said than done, but there's no need to panic! 😮 Although it's a bummer, stay calm. We're here to help.
Here are the most important things you need to do.
- Change Your Password For the Breached Account.
Do this first and make sure that you choose a strong password that can't be easily guessed. Focus on creating long passwords with both upper and lower case letters and numbers and special characters. These are toughest for hackers to guess. We have some tips to help with that here: How to Create a Strong Password that You Will Remember.
If you plan to close your account with the breached service, it is still important that you change the password first. Many websites offer the option to reactivate a deleted account. By changing your password, you ensure that a hacker can't reactivate the account without your consent or knowledge.
- Change Your Password for any Website where you used the Same or a Similar Password.
While you should never use the same password for multiple accounts, we realize it still happens. By choosing to use the same password across multiple platforms, when one account is breached, any accounts that use the same password or a similar password are also at risk. You should change each of those passwords as a proactive approach to ensure they aren't accessed without your consent.
- Check Other Accounts for Signs of Unauthorized Access.
Once a hacker has your email address or your password, they have 50% of the information they need to access your other accounts. If you used the same password for another account, they're extremely likely to be affected as well. If you aren't sure where to start, use this order of priority:
- Your email account(s) - when you forget your password, for most sites, your password reset token goes to your email address. With access to your email account, it provides unhindered access to any account linked to that email address.
- Online Banking, Credit Cards, and Loan websites
- Websites where your card information is stored (Amazon, grocery delivery services, utilities you pay online, any other site where you enter card information)
- Accept the Breached Company's Offer to Help.
Following a data breach, most companies offer help to repair the damage and protect you for a set amount of time. This offer to help might include compensation for time and money spent attempting to repair the damage yourself, a subscription to a credit monitoring service, or any other reparation deemed necessary to minimize the damage to your personal information.
For more information, you can visit our blog.
Do you have any additional questions? Want a piece of advice? Let us know! We are always available at firstname.lastname@example.org.