Discovering that a company with which you’ve shared your personal data has fallen victim to a cyber attack is a sobering experience. Unfortunately, in this era of relentless cyber threats, it’s becoming increasingly common. So, what is the appropriate data breach response following a data security incident?


Understanding the Risk Level 

The appropriate data breach response plan largely depends on the nature of the breached data and the type of website from which it was stolen. Websites and the data they handle can be categorized into high, moderate, and low risk. 

High Risk: High-risk sites include financial institutions, email providers, social media platforms, healthcare providers, and any site controlling internet-connected devices like home cameras or voice-controlled devices. If these sites are breached, your social security number, bank account details, health records, or even control of your home devices could be compromised. 

Moderate Risk: These are sites that have more in-depth records about you or your family. Examples include hotel or airline booking platforms that store your travel information and preferences.

Low Risk: These are generally retail sites that mainly hold your name and email address. While there is no such thing as a truly low- or no-risk data breach, these issues may only require monitoring and maintaining cybersecurity best practices.


Your Data Breach Response Plan Checklist 

If you find out your data has been compromised in a breach, follow these steps to minimize potential damage:

  1. Change Your Passwords: Immediately log in to the breached website and change your password. If possible, enable two-factor authentication for added security. 
  2. Review Your Account Information: Examine your account details to ascertain what data might have been compromised. 
  3. File an ID Theft Affidavit (for high-risk breaches): If a high-risk website is breached, file an ID theft affidavit with the FTC and place a fraud alert on your accounts. 
  4. Alert the Authorities: If your social security number was potentially exposed, inform the IRS and your accountant. For passport data, contact the State Department. 
  5. Monitor Your Credit Report: Regularly review your credit reports for any unauthorized activities or changes. 
  6. Contact Your Bank (for financial data breaches): If a financial account or credit/debit card was compromised, contact your bank immediately, request new card numbers, and monitor your account for any suspicious activity. 
  7. Watch Your Mail: Be vigilant for any new accounts, cards, or suspicious activities opened in your name. 
  8. Take Advantage of Credit Monitoring: If the breached company offers credit monitoring services, consider using them to keep a close eye on your credit activity.


Staying Secure in a Digital World 

A data breach can be stressful, but with the right data breach incident response plan, you can minimize the damage and regain control over your digital life. But remember–cybersecurity isn’t just about preventing breaches; it’s about having a solid plan in place if one occurs. At BlackCloak, our mission is to guide you in protecting your digital life, no matter the circumstances. Together, we can ensure that your digital life remains secure.