hacker at a computer trying to get online data from a consumer

How can I find out if my online data has been stolen?

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

In 2023, data breaches have significantly affected Americans. Over 233 million individuals in the U.S. have been victims of data breaches throughout the year, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center’s Q3 2023 Data Breach Analysis report. This figure highlights the growing rate and impact of data breaches, with the number of reported compromises until Q3 of 2023 already surpassing the previous annual record.

Additionally, healthcare data breaches have notably doubled this year, impacting about a quarter of the American population. An estimated 87 million Americans were affected by healthcare data breaches in 2023, which is more than double the 37 million affected in 2022. These breaches have occurred across a wide range of states, with California and New York experiencing the highest number of security incidents.

These statistics underline the increasing prevalence and seriousness of data breaches in the United States, affecting a significant portion of the population and spanning various sectors, including healthcare.

Follow these steps below to find out if your online data has been stolen:

1. Check Breach Databases: Use websites like https://www.f-secure.com/us-en/identity-theft-checker where you can enter your email address to see if it has been part of a data breach and your information exposed to the dark web.

2. Monitor Your Accounts: Regularly check your online accounts for any unusual activity. This includes social media, email, and financial accounts.Keep a close eye on your bank and credit card statements for any unauthorized transactions. If you notice anything unusual, contact your financial institution immediately.

3. Set Up Alerts: Many financial institutions and services offer alert settings that notify you of unusual activity on your accounts.

4. Review Your Credit Reports: Regularly checking your credit reports can help you spot signs of identity theft early.Regularly review your credit reports from the major credit bureaus for any unauthorized accounts or inquiries. This can help you catch identity theft early.

5. Use Security Tools: Consider using security tools or services that monitor the dark web for your personal information.Make sure all your devices are up-to-date with the latest security patches and antivirus software. This helps prevent further data breaches.

6. Change Passwords Regularly: Regularly change your passwords, especially if you suspect your data might have been compromised.

7. Enable Two-Factor Authentication: This adds an extra layer of security to your accounts.Add an extra layer of security to your accounts by enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) wherever it’s available. This typically involves receiving a code on your phone or email that you must enter in addition to your password.

Remember, staying vigilant and proactive about monitoring your online presence is key to identifying and responding to data theft.

What do you do once you have found out your data has been stolen?

If you discover that your personal data has been stolen, it’s essential to act quickly to mitigate any potential risks and protect yourself from further harm. Here are the steps you should take:

1. Change Your Passwords Immediately:Make sure your new passwords are strong and unique. It’s also a good idea to change passwords for other important accounts, especially if you’ve used the same or similar passwords elsewhere.

2. Contact Affected Companies: Notify any companies or institutions associated with the stolen data. This could include your bank, online retailers, or service providers. They can watch for suspicious activity and may advise further steps.

3. Place a Fraud Alert or Credit Freeze: Consider placing a fraud alert on your credit reports, which tells creditors to verify your identity before opening new accounts in your name. In more serious cases, a credit freeze might be appropriate, which prevents creditors from accessing your credit report altogether.

4. Report Identity Theft: If you believe your identity has been stolen, report it to the appropriate authorities. In the U.S., this can be done through the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) via their IdentityTheft.gov website.

5. Beware of Phishing Scams: Be alert to phishing attempts that might use your stolen data. Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown or suspicious emails.

6. Educate Yourself and Others: Stay informed about cybersecurity practices to protect your data in the future. Share your knowledge with friends and family to help them secure their data as well.

Remember, the sooner you act, the better your chances of minimizing the damage from the data theft.

2024 trends show an increase in Cybersecurity in order to protect your online data. 

Predictions for data breaches and cybersecurity in 2024 emphasize several key trends and strategies. These predictions indicate a growing sophistication in both cyber threats and defenses, highlighting the need for continuous evolution in cybersecurity practices:

1. Enhanced Vulnerability Management: The White House’s National Cybersecurity Strategy, emphasizing robust vulnerability management, is expected to drive advancements in this field. Organizations are likely to focus more on identifying, assessing, prioritizing, and mitigating security vulnerabilities.

2. Next-Generation Security Awareness Programs: Security training is anticipated to undergo significant transformation, with a shift towards continuous breach and attack simulations. This will involve real-time guidance to prevent social engineering attacks and specialized tools for secure coding practices.

3. Increased Use of AI in Cybersecurity: AI is expected to play a crucial role in both offensive and defensive cybersecurity strategies. While AI technologies will empower attackers with more sophisticated methods, defensive AI systems will also become more advanced, focusing on proactive risk mitigation, real-time threat detection, and response.

4. Cybersecurity Tool Consolidation: A trend towards consolidating cybersecurity tools into integrated or unified security platforms is predicted. This approach aims for a more cohesive and centralized management of security, potentially reducing the financial impact of security incidents significantly.

5. Growing Importance of Cloud Data Security: With the increasing reliance on cloud services, a stronger emphasis on cloud data security and compliance with data protection regulations is anticipated. This includes establishing robust security postures for cloud-based data storage and processing.

6. Emerging Quantum Computing Risks: The rise of quantum computing presents new challenges for cybersecurity, particularly the need for quantum-resistant encryption techniques to protect against the advanced capabilities of quantum technologies.

7. Evolving Phishing Attacks: Phishing attacks are expected to become more sophisticated, bypassing traditional security measures. This underlines the importance of robust authentication systems to counteract these evolving threats.

8. Increased Focus on Mobile Security: As mobile devices become more central to personal and professional life, enhanced focus on mobile security will be crucial to protect against growing cyber threats targeting these devices.

These predictions suggest a dynamic and challenging cybersecurity landscape in 2024, with organizations needing to adapt rapidly to emerging threats and technological advancements.

Contact A Los Angeles Privacy Lawyer

At J&Y Law Firm, we recommend seeking professional legal advice when your data has been stolen. For further guidance or to discuss your specific case, contact J&Y Law Firm at (877) 426-6580, and our team of experienced attorneys will be happy to assist you.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.