Sarah wakes up, goes to work, makes dinner, and spends time with her family. Her daily life does not involve her worrying about her sensitive information or cybersecurity. She uses social media, signs up for new services, and forgets about the personal details she gave to all the businesses she’s interacted with in the past.
But one day, Sarah receives a notification that she’s been part of a massive data breach. Her bank account records, social security numbers, wire transactions, and other mortgage paperwork were stolen. She’s one out of the 885 million users impacted by the data breach of First American Financial Corporation.
Or instead, Sarah received an email telling her that her credit card data, social security number, and bank account number were one out of 105 million credit card users exposed. This happened to Capital One Bank users in 2013.
Sensitive information being compromised is a reality for millions of users every day. Stay informed to protect your identity and security. This article details what sensitive information is, three types of sensitive information, and what to do if your sensitive information has been leaked.
What is Sensitive Data?
Sensitive data is critical to protect from unauthorized or unapproved access. This is to protect the privacy or security of an individual or organization.
Sensitive information is typically protected through encryption. Most secure businesses will encrypt sensitive information that is sent to third parties and on their servers. They will also invest heavily in cybersecurity services to monitor and respond to any information risks or leaks.
Businesses also rely on Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or other secure connections to protect information when it is being transmitted. Businesses utilize a web of practices and procedures to maximize the security of sensitive information.
Types of Sensitive Information
There are three types of sensitive information, and all three are crucially important to protect.
1. Personal Information
Sensitive personally identification information, also known as PII, is data that can be traced back to a specific individual. When sensitive PII is released, that individual is at risk for serious crimes like identity theft.
Examples of sensitive PII include:
- Full name
- Mailing address
- Social Security numbers
- Biometric data
- Medical information
- Personally identifiable financial information
2. Business Information
Business information is information that would pose a risk to the company if it were leaked to the public or competitors.
Types of business information include:
- Acquisition plans
- Trade secrets
- Financial data
- Supplier, customer, and employee information
- Classified emails and documents discussing sensitive issues
3. Classified Information
Classified information is information that would pose a risk to the government or government’s goal if leaked to the public or other entities. Access to classified information is restricted by the level of sensitivity. Classified information is typically protected due to security concerns.
My Sensitive Information Has Been Leaked: What Now?
As a consumer, it’s likely that your sensitive information has been compromised. This can happen because a business that you trusted in the past experienced a cyber attack or your very own device was targeted. Agency, a cybersecurity company, allows you to check if your passwords are on the dark web for free using just your email. It’s advisable to check if your passwords have been leaked due to the thousands of data breaches that happen every year.
Sensitive information can be leaked in a number of ways. Causes include:
- Businesses share information through non-secure tools or methods.
- Employees stealing company information.
- Employees accidentally share confidential information.
- Information is accidentally being shared with the wrong recipients.
- Phishing scams.
If you know your sensitive information has been leaked, you should first secure all your accounts by using a hard-to-guess and unique password for each one. Depending on what information was leaked, you should take steps with the appropriate agency or help desk to change or secure that information. For example, if your social security number was leaked, you should contact your local police department and the Social Security Administration (1-800-772-1213) to let them know about the incident.
If you do nothing when your sensitive information is leaked, malicious people may open bank accounts in your name, use up your savings, or worse. Having a personal cybersecurity plan is crucial to prevent your sensitive information from becoming compromised and mitigate the consequences if it does unfortunately happen.
- Repair and remedy for cyber-attacks like malware, ransomware, and phishing.
- Reimbursement of costs for things like loss of use and loss of income.
- Complete ID theft coverage, loss of funds coverage, and credit monitoring.
Consider purchasing business-level personal cybersecurity at an affordable cost with Agency to protect your sensitive information!