After a series of high-profile data breaches in recent months, you might be wondering: Just how safe is my personal data?
The answer, a number of data and online security experts say, is that it’s not very safe at all – and there’s not much the average consumer can do about it.
The story you're reading is premium content from the Austin American-Statesman. Subscribers get total access to all our in-depth news, digital editions and exclusive premium content. You can now also buy a 24-hour digital pass or 7-day digital pass.
For Subscribers: Sign in here if you have already registered your account.Sign In
For Subscribers: Register your account for digital access.Access Digital
Read MyStatesman.com now — 24-hour digital pass99¢ for 24-hours
Read MyStatesman.com all week — 7-day digital pass$3.99 for 7-days
Subscribe to the Statesman for as little as 33¢ per dayView Offers
Tips for protecting yourself online
• Don’t give too much personal information on social network sites, such as your birthday or pet names.
• Change your passwords frequently and don’t use the same handful for every site
• Use an identity monitoring service to see if anyone’s opened any accounts in your name.
• If you get an email from a bank, don’t click on the link. Call them instead.
• Monitor your bank and credit card accounts for suspicious activity and check your credit rating regularly.
Recent high-profile data breaches
• Target said last month that 40 million credit and debit card accounts were stolen in a data breach. The company later disclosed that hackers stole an additional trove of data affecting 70 million people.
• At the social-sharing app Snapchat, hackers recently posted account information for 4.6 million users, making user names and at least partial phone numbers available for download.
• Software company Adobe Systems’ database was hacked late last year and the data of 152 million customers was stolen.
About this story
Following recent high-profile data breaches at Target Corp. and other companies, American-Statesman technology reporter Brian Gaar decided to examine how safe consumers’ data is in an increasingly connected age. He examined past security breaches and talked with multiple experts to research the scale of the cybersecurity threat facing consumers — and whether there is anything we can do to combat it.