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New Year, New Password: Keeping Your Data Safe in 2024

Black and white photograph of man sat on sofa with laptop, Christmas tree in background, surrounded by solid blue circle

With many of your trusted partners playing loose with your data and digital identity, is it time for you to make more effort? Six billion digital records were compromised in 2023 – more than those of 2021 and 2022 combined. (IT Governance)

So, it’s getting worse. The end of the year is time to do something. Many of us are now reflecting on the past year and thinking about how we can improve our habits. This coming year, we propose a different kind of resolution: maintaining your digital identities.

In today’s blog, we discuss what can happen with your compromised data, offer tips for improving your digital identity habits, and explore our solution to keeping your data secure: MiIdentity.

Let’s start with a few facts and figures from the last year…

Millions. Billions. Trillions.

An estimated 365 million people have been affected by data breaches in 2023 – slightly more than the entire population of the United States! (The Independent)

The largest data breach of 2023 happened to a UK-based digital risk protection company, DarkBeam, exposing a massive 3.8 billion records. (IT Governance)

In 2015, the global financial impact of cybercrime was estimated to be $3 trillion. It is now predicted that the annual cost by 2025 will be $10.5 trillion. That’s 5x the size of the UK’s GDP. (Forbes)

Consumers are feeling the effects. In a 2023 survey, 95% of studied organisations had experienced multiple breaches, and more than half of those breached were more likely to pass costs onto consumers. (IBM)

With these huge numbers in mind, is now the time you should be thinking about that 2024 New Year’s Resolution to finally take back some control and track your identity?

Why you should manage your data.

We all provide sensitive data to companies around the world, sometimes as simple as an email address to sign up to a newsletter, other times as complex as our health profiles when applying for insurance. We trust that it will be kept safely and used appropriately. You may not think too much about it when clicking submit, but outside of your control, your information (and by extension, you as an individual) instantly becomes vulnerable.

When a data breach occurs, your information can appear in shadowy corners of the internet – known as the dark web – and fall into the wrong hands. Primarily, cybercriminals use your compromised data for financial gain. With your stolen personal data (name, address, social security number, and date of birth, etc), cybercriminals can make fraudulent loan and credit applications, unauthorized transactions, and empty your bank accounts. With less information available, for example just an email address, you can be included in phishing email lists with the hopes that you may click and reveal more information about yourself.

Depending on how you are targeted, you can be left out of pocket and scrambling to secure your identity. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

🚨 Secure identity data, fast.

Simply send us your email address to find out more about our MiIdentity platform and digital reinsurance. Identity protection for individuals. Data breach recovery for business.

Keeping your data secure.

As cyberattacks become more frequent with each passing year, we resolve in 2024 to protect our digital identities. Let’s look at four simple ways to do this.

1. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) on all your accounts.

Where possible, enable this feature. 2FA adds an additional layer of security to your accounts, prompting users for a one-time password (via email/ SMS/ authenticator app), or biometric identifier (fingerprint/ facial recognition) be provided before allowing access to your account. If a hacker tries to remotely access your account, they will be unable to proceed. Check your account or app settings.

2. Be vigilant to phishing scams – spam emails, unsolicited texts, and unknown callers.

Phishing scams are becoming ever more sophisticated, in many cases looking identical to communications from real companies. You may receive an email asking to click to login and confirm account details (leading to a site harvesting user data), a text requesting confirmation of information (often linked to a premium rate number), or a phone call asking for all sorts of personal information (you know the ones!).

If you receive anything that seems suspicious: think twice, and do not click – unless it’s the delete button! If in doubt, contact the company in question directly.

3. Check for compromised data.

You can find out right now whether your email accounts have been compromised and leaked. Sites like Have I Been Pwned and Cybernews offer free tools that reveal in which breaches, if any, your email addresses and phone numbers have been leaked.

4. Change your passwords regularly and make them complex.

Having checked above, if your data has been leaked, there’s no better time than now to get your passwords updated. Regularly updating your passwords also means that if your details do get leaked, the data will soon be out of date, reducing the chance for malicious access – a good rule of thumb is every 90 days.

Your passwords should have at least 12 characters and include uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special symbols – random jumbles make for even stronger passwords! There are many tools online that can do this and your device may even offer to set one for you, such as LastPass Password Generator or iCloud Keychain – make sure to keep your passwords in a safe, encrypted place.

Use MiIdentity, from MIC Global.

MiIdentity is our all-in-one identity monitoring and insurance platform, brought to customers via our insurance and platform partners. Upon registering, you provide the data that you wish to monitor, and our system proactively searches the dark web for listings and credit bureaus for financial activity. If your data is discovered or a suspicious transaction takes place, you are alerted with detailed information of your breached information – empowering you to secure your identity before it is used maliciously or further financial damage occurs.

In the event of theft and subsequent fraudulent use of personal identity documents, or monetary loss as the result of stolen or breached data, our Digital Identity reinsurance solution enables our partners to provide you with inconvenience payments to help deal with securing your compromised identity – such as replacing documentation or mitigating loss from a fraudulent transaction.

You are not alone in the identity recovery process. The MiIdentity platform is equipped with informative articles to kick-start recovery, and if further support is needed our team is available to help you through chat support and call operators.

Businesses can also benefit from MiIdentity. When a breach occurs, the platform becomes a critical tool in a full-scale data breach response. MiIdentity provides reports which can be used to measure the breach in real time, giving crucial data on the immediate and on-going impact as the breach progresses. Data from MiIdentity enables your recovery team to focus their efforts, and aids in creating specific messaging to support your customers.

Wishing you a secure 2024.

You wouldn’t leave your home or car unlocked for strangers to enter. So, as our lives and activities move increasingly online, we need to treat our personal data with the same respect and importance. With a few simple steps you can keep your data and digital identities safe on the internet and avoid being part of 2024’s statistics – a New Year’s resolution you can be sure to stick to next year and beyond!

“Happy New Year” from all at MIC Global.

Tell me more about MiIdentity

To learn more about our MiIdentity platform and digital reinsurance solution, visit our product page and get in touch with us below or via our contact form to discuss how we can help enhance your business’ customer cybersecurity offering and data breach recovery strategy.

Further reading

Cyber Security for Christmas

Cyber Security – Going on Holiday?

Data Breach Detected! How MiIdentity Empowers Corporate Recovery in the Aftermath of a Hack