Detect data breaches as they happen

Faster. Easier. Smarter. Going digital really does have its perks. Yet, as we make more and more transactions online, it’s essential that we’re also aware of the risks. Here, we run through how you can reduce your vulnerability to hackers and react to data breaches as they happen.

What's in this guide?

Q1. What is a data breach?

A data breach is when a person’s data is accessed, lost or disclosed without their authorisation. Data breaches can lead to personal information falling into the hands of cybercriminals, which can have a huge impact, both financially and emotionally. 

If attackers get hold of your personal information, they can potentially misuse your data for identity theft, financial fraud, or other malicious activities. For instance, they could apply for loans or credit cards in your name, or log in to your online banking. That’s why it’s vital to check for breaches regularly and reduce your vulnerability to hackers.

Q2. How can I reduce my vulnerability to breaches?

It might seem obvious, but one of the most effective ways to reduce your vulnerability to breaches is to strengthen your passwords and be vigilant for online scams.

  • Strengthen your passwords - the strongest passwords have a mix of letters, numbers, capitalisation and syntax. Plus, the longer the password, the better. 

  • Don’t repeat passwords - if you reuse passwords, a hacker only has to breach one account to access all of them. Using a secure password manager on your phone and computer can help you store and remember complex passwords safely.

  • Be aware of phishing scams - phishing scams involve cybercriminals trying to trick you into giving away your personal information. These scams can be in the form of an email, text message or phone call and often involve highly incentivised or time pressured scenarios. Want to know more about what to look out for? Check out our guide to online safety

  • Never give out your passwords - a legitimate company will never ask you for your passwords or log in details. Some may need to ask you for a few personal details in relation to the product they’re offering you or to confirm your identity like your name or address, but always consider whether this feels appropriate. If it doesn’t feel right, leave the conversation. 

Q3. Can I prevent data breaches from happening?

We’d love to say yes, unfortunately it's not that simple. While there’s lots of things you can do to secure your data on an individual level, there’s also the potential that your data could be accessed through a company data breach. 

Although most companies will put lots of precautions in place to prevent this from happening, it’s always a risk. That’s why it’s really important not to repeat passwords and to keep an eye on your credit file to ensure there aren’t any credit applications that you don’t recognise. If there are, it’s essential that you act as soon as possible.

Q4. How do I know if my data has been breached?

There are a couple of easy ways to find out if your data has been compromised or if you’ve been the victim of identity fraud. 

Use a breach monitoring service

One way to protect yourself is to use BreachAlert on Wisr App. BreachAlert scours the internet daily for data breaches. Using the service, you can see instantly if your email and other data may have been involved in a historical breach. Using ongoing monitoring, you can get notified when future breaches involving your email occur, plus recommended next steps including how to create secure passwords and keep your data secure.

We’ve seen increasing adoption for our data breach monitoring service which tends to rise when new data breaches make the news. 

There is real power in combining the tools available to monitor your identity online and the flow-on impacts of potential fraud on your credit file. Having access to monitoring and notifications of data breaches and credit scores through an app like Wisr adds to the convenience and also immediacy if your online presence might have been impacted. 

This is all the more important for those with higher credit scores. On average, users with higher credit scores are seeing more instances of their data being involved with data breaches when compared to those with lower credit scores. 

Keep tabs on your credit file

We receive lots of positive feedback from Wisr App users about our free credit score-checking service, in particular getting peace of mind knowing that their credit score is monitored in the background and that they will be notified of activity on their credit file.

If you see hard enquiries for credit on your file that you did not make, you should contact the credit provider immediately. You can also ask for a temporary ban to be placed on your credit file by contacting the relevant credit bureaus.

Making sure you take steps to strengthen your online security and monitor for breaches is essential to keeping your data safe in today’s digital world. Want to protect yourself? Download Wisr App now to check your credit file and set up BreachAlert in minutes.

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Disclaimer: This article contains general information only, and is not general advice or personal advice. Wisr Services does not recommend any product or service discussed in this article. You must get your own financial, taxation, or legal advice, and understand any risks before considering whether a product or service discussed in this article may be appropriate for you. We have taken reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but the information is subject to change. We may not update the article to reflect any change.

Joanne is a respected leader of multiple disciplines within Banking, with 17+ years’ experience ranging from credit risk, product management, pricing, analytics and strategic project delivery.

Joanne, Chief Operating Officer