2021 is behind us. Whether that is positive or negative for you, in my world, it was another record year. A record year of data breaches.

According to The Identity Theft Research Center (ITRC), data breaches in 2021 surpassed the previous record year of 2020 by 17 percent. The incidents ranged from the theft of cryptocurrency (Livecoin went out of business following an attack) to ransomware attacks (Colonial Pipeline), to zero-day vulnerabilities against Microsoft Exchange Server, and finally, the big one: Log4j.

There is speculation that the Log4j vulnerability will last for years. The Log4j vulnerability is so concerning that the FTC issued a warning this week to companies declaring that if companies don’t mitigate the vulnerability, they could be subject to an enforcement action [view related posts here and here].

What does this all mean to us as consumers? Many of us roll our eyes and say “All of our information is out there anyway, so why bother trying to protect it?” I say, don’t give up. Here are a few tips that are still important for protecting your data and your privacy:

  • If your information is compromised, sign up for credit monitoring or a credit freeze if offered.
  • Continue to check your credit report, which you can get for free once a year, to help determine whether any fraudulent accounts have been opened in your name.
  • Protect your Social Security number and driver’s license number. Don’t just give them when asked or fill them in on a form.
  • Mind your cookies.
  • Check the privacy settings on your phone and update them frequently.
  • Opt-in to “do not track” options.
  • Use DuckDuckGo as your browser.
  • Consider the Jumbo privacy app.
  • Read the privacy policies of apps and devices before you download or activate them.
  • Be aware of phishing, vishing, smishing, and qrishing.
  • Understand what IoT devices you have and activate unique passwords for them.
  • Change the default passwords on your home router and wi-fi.
  • Update the software on your devices as soon as you can.

And there are so many more! Check out all of our privacy tips at www.dataprivacyandsecurityinsider.com and don’t give up! Even though 2022 looks to be another whopper year for data breaches, if we don’t try to protect our privacy, then who will?