Premera Blue Cross is a major provider of health care services and insurance in the Northwest. In January of 2015, Premera found that the medical and financial information of 11 million of their customers was breached due to a cyber attack. The possibility that your information could have fallen into the wrong hands is terrifying. However, even if you were to experience a breach of data like Premera, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your identity after you make sure to download ACF2 security software or another similar program.
Do Not Panic
The first and most important step to protecting yourself from fraud or theft is to remain calm, much like one should do during divorce settlements. Upon hearing about the Premera breach, millions of customers experienced unnecessary stress. Remember: a data breach does not necessarily mean that you will become a victim of identity theft. Remaining calm will allow you to think more clearly and handle the situation quickly and efficiently. As long as you do not panic and you follow the advice below, you are not likely to become a victim due to an incident like the Premera security breach.
Premera was quick to realize that a cyber attack was taking place on their system. Hopefully other companies can do the same. Whether it is your bank, your insurance company or a store you recently shopped at, it is important to find out as much information as possible. Keep an eye out for announcements. You may find that your branch was not effected. Additionally, your bank or company may make announcements that will help you avoid further attacks. Due to an increase in phishing attacks after the data breach, Premera announced that they would not be calling or emailing their customers in regards to the incident. This kind of information is imperative to know. It is important that you stay updated.
Call And Cancel
If you find that you information was compromised during a data breach, it is time to take action. Whether it was your credit card, your debit card or your financial information, there are ways to prevent identity theft. If your debit card information was put at risk, you must call your bank to cancel the account immediately. Protecting your debit card should be your top priority. It gives thieves direct access to your money. Other data can simply be saved on removable media to keep it secure. Credit card charges can be disputed at a later date. However, if there is a credit card or financial breach, it is still important to take action as soon as possible. Call your bank or insurance company and cancel your old accounts. They should be accommodating due to the data breach. This way, any financial information that was stolen will be unusable. If your personal security has been breached due to the Premera incident, or another one similar, immediately call and cancel any debit cards you possess.
Your Social Security Number can be another tool for thieves. If they attained access to this vital information or other internet banking information, there are still ways you can protect yourself. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports through a credit reporting agency. This will notify creditors that your SSN has been compromised. That way, they can be aware of any suspicious activity. Additionally, you can request a security freeze. This will provide the greatest amount of protection from identity theft. If you ever experience a data breach like Premera customers, it is important to alert the authorities if necessary.
Monitor Your Credit Reports
Once you have taken these necessary steps, you should be well protected from frauds and thieves. The simplest thing you can do from hereon is monitor your accounts. Keep an eye out for suspicious activity in your financial statements and credit reports. It is impossible to stop imposters from using your information completely. However, you will feel safer knowing that you took the necessary steps. Remember to remain alert to any suspicious activity, and always make use of 2 factor authentication for your accounts whenever possible.
IT Security Best Practices
Now that you have a handle on the Premera data breach crisis, it is important to prevent another similar occurrence happening in the future. In order to do so, you will need to do a little digging about the companies seeking your information before you sign up for any new services. This is not as simple as avoiding email scams, though you should definitely do that as well. Going forward, you should learn to scrutinize those “user agreements” a little bit closer whenever you create a new account or download a new app. This is the first step to preventing another disaster like the Premera data breach from affecting you again.
The Premera data breach scare may be over, but there is never a bad time to be prepared. To protect your information from theft and fraud you must remain vigilant. Thousands of cyber attacks happen every day. Thankfully, there are ways that you can protect yourself. Refer to this post if you ever find yourself in a worrisome situation.
Premera Data Breach Updates
The Premera Blue Cross data breach inevitably led to a class action lawsuit. However, interesting recent developments in the trial have been reported. In August of 2016, the U.S. District Judge presiding over the case, Judge Michael Simon, accepted a motion by Premera to dismiss several fraud claims in the suit. If there is one thing you should learn from the Premera Blue Cross lawsuit, make sure you always have a great lawyer on call.
Photo from http://blog.billguard.com/2015/03/massive-data-breach-health-care-insurer-premera/