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Beware the Data Breadcrumbs You Leave for Cybercriminals

October 20, 2022 •

In today’s digital-first world, our individual data is more important than ever. Just like Hansel and Gretel left breadcrumbs to help them find their way home, it is important to think of each piece of data as a breadcrumb. If you’re not careful, each data breadcrumb can become a tasty morsel for a cybercriminal.

Sure, you try to be careful with passwords and secure networks. Even so, consumers generate large amounts of data online that can be traced back to a source (i.e. YOU!) with ease. Some pieces of data that can are often inadvertently left behind include:

  • Home addresses
  • Saved credit card information
  • Family names and birth dates
  • Cell phone numbers

Combine these with other unintended data breadcrumbs and your cybersecurity risk escalates. Perhaps these sound examples of data shared by email, text, and chat sound familiar.

  1. The Hulu password your neighbor shared with you.
  2. The computer login your spouse sent you this morning for the third time.
  3. Days and times you will be traveling for an upcoming vacation
  4. Medical and other protected healthcare information

Recognize any of these from your own experience? Perhaps the list has helped you think of others. This data, including personally identifiable information (PII,) is highly valuable for criminals, as they can leverage these insights for their own personal gain and wreak havoc in your life, anything from unauthorized purchases to identity theft.

Why you should conduct a data-protection audit to become cyber aware

Consider the vast quantity of personal information others likely possess about you. How do you feel about the possibility—actually, the likelihood—that this data, whether intentionally or not, is shared with people you didn’t expect or authorize? On the flip side, give thought to how much personal information you have about others. Gaining this awareness into your overall cybersecurity posture is critical to ensure you and your data remain secure.

Are you confident in your abilities, and that of your friends, family, and colleagues, to keep this data safe from skilled cyber attackers who want to defraud and steal by any means necessary? After all, even some of the world’s largest and best funded enterprises experience data breaches.

Let’s face it—we could all benefit from a quick data security check-up every now and again. If you haven’t conducted a data protection and data rights audit in the past six months, it’s time to do so. The purpose of any data protection audit is to determine whether the policies and procedures you use to keep your data private and control of who has access is properly working.

Here’s a quick checklist to help you become more cybersecurity aware:

  1. Create a list of any data you believe should always remain private. Data such as birthdates, Social Security numbers, financial account (bank, investment, etc.) numbers, passport numbers, travel info (hotel, airline, and other travel numbers), crypto keys, passwords, and medical information.
  2. Identify where this data is located. Is it on your phone, home device, stored in the cloud, stored in a portal?
  3. Determine who you want to have access to this data. Which data breadcrumbs have you shared and with whom? Are there people on the list that should no longer have this information? Who do you want to share it with, such as specific family members, lawyers, accountants, or financial advisers? 
  4. Decide how you will share each data breadcrumb. Will you only use email?
  5. Determine how you will control access to the data. Does this information only need to be shared for a limited amount of time?
  6. Have a plan to revoke access to that data once it is no longer needed or the contact has changed.

For many, the list of shared data is fairly long; as is the number of people they’ve shared it with. Becoming more aware of this information will help you secure your data for the long haul.

Retain control of your data improves your cybersecurity – no breadcrumbs required

We all have left data breadcrumbs behind. While getting a handle on this data can seem like a daunting task, picking up these breadcrumbs doesn’t have to be as difficult as it sounds. In today’s world you cannot refuse to share bank statements to receive a mortgage, and your child cannot attend school without sharing their medical records, but there are solutions on the market to help you retain control even after you hit “send” on that email or text message.

Removing people who have access to your data can be challenging, especially when you no longer want them to have that information. That’s why it’s essential to have a data privacy and data rights management application. These types of applications empower you to protect your sensitive data and control access, forever

EB Control, an easy, affordable, and hassle-free solution, guarantees that your data stays in the right hands—your hands. That’s because EB Control lets you decide who accesses your data, when, where and how it’s accessed. Trust no one and make sure you leave no data breadcrumbs behind.

Click here to learn how EB Control can help you to retain control of your data, forever.