Yahoo! hack reveals sad truth: Your personal information is barely safe online

Yahoo! hack reveals sad truth: Your personal information is barely safe online

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - It turns out the Yahoo! data breach back in 2013 was much worse than originally thought. Initially, it was reported that 1 billion users were affected but new developments reveal even more users were involved.

It seems almost impossible these days to keep your personal information safe online. So what can you do?

Tom Scott, executive director with SC Cyber, a company that partners with various state agencies to educate people of the risks of using your personal information online, says most major companies will experience a data breach if they haven't already.

"If you were to go look at the top 10 companies in terms of brand, every single one of them has had some sort of a data breach," Scott said.

This puts just about every person with personal information online at risk of a breach.

"So, the effect is basically – each one of us has had our information breached an average of three times," Scott said. "Anytime you connect-up with any group, you're offering some level of risk and some level of exposure. Even the Target breach back in 2012 was experienced through a third-party provider, which was their heating and air conditioning company."

Scott said there's really no way to avoid the risks.

"You can go in the closet and curl up in a fetal position and hope the world goes away and all the bad things go away," Scott said.

But you can be proactive in protecting your information.

"On a monthly basis, you should do some level of monitoring. On an annual basis, you can get your free credit check. You can sign up for credit monitoring services. There are things out there like Lifelock. Even the most solid organizations are potential places that breaches or hacks can happen. It goes back to the old saying 'why do people rob banks? Because that's where the money is at," Scott said.

Scott said there's nothing new about fraud, only how it's done.

"Instead of holding you up at gunpoint and taking your money, I can do that from the comfort and ease and safety of my basement," Scott said.

SC Cyber has teamed up with Texas A&M to offer a free online cybersecurity course. They have classes available for the everyday person as well as IT professionals, and you can earn a college credit.

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