Data Breaches are a growing network and business problem due to the evolving nature of the internet, business, and personal computer use - and security measures. However, personal computer users are not immune to falling victim to a data breach, identity theft, and exploitation. The 540 million Facebook user's data breach in April which was leaked to nonsecure Amazon cloud servers is an example of this. It is also an illustration of how personal information can quickly escape your hands and possession, into the hands of others which aim to profit from your personal details, hobbies, and habits.

When people think of data breaches they often think of big corporate companies, but other organizations such as small businesses, the military, and personal computers also often fall victim to the financial and reputational destruction of precise data breach attacks.

While international laws exist like HIPPA or PCI-DSS, it is often too difficult for organizations to keep up with the evolving strategies, methods, and creativity of data breaches, “hackers”, or those simply knowledgeable enough to take advantage of system vulnerabilities within a network, or of an individual computer.

According to experts at organizations like Risk Based Security, data analysis and surveys demonstrated that in this year alone, "more than 3.2 billion" of personal records were exposed in the short course of merely eight breaches.

Some attacks can be prevented, however, by enforcing the steps necessary to avoid human error, risk, and mistakes that compromise an organization and its data. These issues may also apply to personal use computers, such as not properly logging out of websites, clicking on malicious links, false login pages, or having their device and network compromised entirely due to neglect.

Below, please find a detailed set of tips suggested by Alexey Trigolos, a financial software expert in Elinext ( Useful and popular choices for securing your data this year which I found helpful this year are:

  • Avoiding nonsecure network connections such as Wi-Fi in public places like Starbucks and McDonalds, and using personal or finance logins in these locations
  • Researching, downloading, and conducting regular, monthly vulnerability checks using credible and trusted software, such as Malwarebytes
  • Utilizing 2FA or two-factor authentication for websites such as banks, bill payment, and other logins which relate directly to your finances
  • Downloading and using encryption on both your computer and mobile device, as early as your main login screen
  • Encrypting your emails and correspondences sent for private purposes
  • Creating a more unique, 15 character or longer password, for each of your financial and personal accounts – including social media and consisting of various characters
  • Ensuring that the website or page you are accessing is an official page for the desired organization by checking the Verify symbol in the URL box
  • Regularly checking and maintaining an up-to-date operating system to avoid vulnerabilities and consistently deter bugs and other exploits commonly used by hackers to steal your information

2019 presented new, sophisticated ways for users to assault and access your vulnerable data, but it also used “older” methods that have been modified to achieve the same results. For example, SQL injections (SQLI) exploit software within websites that are not up to date and in turn make you suffer lost, stolen or exploited personal information and data

Common threats to your data including malware and spyware do still exist and are especially prevalent for those not using Mac devices - as frequently expressed by Windows users today. This is also an important time to bring up the dangers of using outdated Windows, or versions that no longer provide up-to-date security patches and vulnerability fixes.

To combat this, you must manage your data responsibly, maintain up to date software, and conduct the necessary research on the products you invest in to protect you. And respond or deal with alerts of your personal and financial data being used in a serious, swift manner.

The most important thing to take away from this article if not anything is the very serious reality that computers, websites, and mobile devices alike continue facing different attack types and security breaches daily, but there are steps that you can and should take to avoid falling victim. With global spending on information security exceeding $124B in 2019 alone, it is not unlikely that the future will be bleak for the many that do not adapt accordingly.