The other day the New York Times, in their online site, had a little interactive quiz – have you been hacked? Based on the most recent well-known hacks, they asked some simple questions, such as “have you purchased anything from any of these stores (sic), or do have a job with the US government, or have you worked for the US government in the past two years?
I was able to say no to the US government question, but I failed the rest of the test: I have a Twitter account; I’ve shopped at Home Depot and Target in the past two years; and probably most importantly, my health insurance is with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, which is owned by . . . Anthem.
So what’s the tally?
- My address, twice
- My birthday, once (presumably from the Anthem hack)
- My credit or debit cards, twice
- My e-mail (potentially up to three different e-mail accounts), four times
- My employment history, once. This one is somewhat murky, as Anthem would have access to how long I’ve been a professor at Armstrong State, but I don’t think a hacker could get the details of my employment (performance reviews, etc) from Anthem
- My health history, obviously from Anthem, twice
- My password (encryption), once. Since I don’t use the same password for each site, this one may not be that scary.
- And, of course, my Social Security Number, presumably from the Anthem breach, once
So, what does someone do about all of these intrusions? There are several suggestions, the first of which, of course, is to check your credit history. Check your bank and credit card statements, regularly. Change passwords, which I’m probably a bit overdue on some sites. Use a password manager, which I do. Secure your wireless access point (router). Use and update your anti-virus software. Unfortunately, beyond these suggestions, unfortunately, there isn’t much an individual can do. Just understand that no one is going to protect you – you have to protect yourself.