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Protecting Your Privacy in the World of Data Breaches

Protecting Your Privacy in the World of Data Breaches

| March 19, 2019

Recently, we hosted a One-Hour to Savvy Cybersecurity workshop for our clients in partnership with guest speaker, Scott Sirois.  The response has been so positive that I wanted to take the time to share some key takeaways that I feel could be beneficial.  

If you would like to attend future seminars put on by Petra Financial Solutions, we would love to have you.  Please fill out the information on the Contact page of our website indicating you would like to receive future invitations.

Before diving into practical application, let’s address the issue we are dealing with.  The media has made us aware of the various data breaches that seem to be occurring more often rather than slowing.  What are the hackers behind these breaches after? Your identity. Identity theft is the fraudulent acquisition and use of a person’s private identifying information, usually for financial gain.  

And according to IBM Cyber Security Intelligence Index, 95% of all successful cyber attacks are caused by human error.  Below are some preventative measures to take in order to combat becoming a victim of one of these cyber attacks.

Credit Freeze

One of the best protections you can place on your “identity” is a credit freeze.  This is the strongest precaution you can make to protect your identity. A credit freeze locks your credit with a PIN to ensure there is no unauthorized access to your credit report without your permission.  If you do place a freeze, you will need to “unfreeze” your account should you need or approve an authorized credit search.

Here are the links for each of the credit bureaus that will take you directly to the page where you can begin the credit freeze process.

Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication (also called “multi-factor authentication) is an extra layer of security designed to ensure that you're the only person who can access your account(s), even if someone knows your password. We encourage you to enable two-factor authentication with your email accounts as well as your bank and credit card online accounts. You should find this option in the settings, security or administrative section of your online accounts.


In addition, we strongly recommend you to spend some time reviewing your passwords and how you use them. As a general rule of thumb, it would take a computer about:

  • 30 minutes to crack an 8-digit password (containing a combination of letters, numbers, special characters)
  • 30 days to crack an 10-digit password (containing a combination of letters, numbers, special characters)
  • 200 years to crack an 12-digit password (containing a combination of letters, numbers, special characters)

Make all your passwords (where possible) a minimum of 12 digits (containing a combination of letters, numbers, special characters).  And don’t reuse your passwords! In order to manage and store your passwords and related information, consider using a secure password manager.  There are a number of good ones out there. Here is a great article,The Best Password Managers of 2019.  Two that we really like are LastPass and Keeper.  Both provide the highest level of security.

The internet age has ushered us into new territory.  With its advancements come new ways for criminals to attempt to steal your personal information.  We hope these suggestions can help thwart those cyber attacks.

Until next time, cheers!