I am very careful. I don’t randomly provide my email address. I have various passwords; good ones. When I offer security recommendations it is not a case of do as I say not as I do. I actually do the things I tell people to do. And yet, stuff beyond my control happens. And it did.
The other day I noted that a major email security breach occurred. A lot of major companies use a provider called Epsilon to manage their email lists. These companies include major banks, stores, technology providers. Epsilon had its email lists stolen. Millions of email addresses have been compromised. Security experts are concerned despite the fact that Epsilon claims no personal information was stolen, just the email addresses. I posted about this security breach on my Facebook page and wondered if I would be directly affected myself. Today I learned I was.
How Did I Find Out?
I got an email from Target. Here it is.
There isn’t much I can do. Though I recommend use of a spam email address (an extra address I use specifically to sign up for most things online) the types of sites that have been compromised are the types I don’t always use my spam address for; such as banks and other reputable businesses which I generally trusted not to sell my information, or didn’t care if they sold my information. Fortunately I didn’t use my business email address for any of these sites. I keep my business email address for business, though this isn’t a guarantee of security or privacy.
As a result of spam and efforts by less than savory individuals to steal information, regardless of the email address at which I receive a message, I am extremely careful about clicking on links. If I get an email from an address that appears to come from my bank I never just click on the link. I go to my bank’s Website and navigate to the specific location from there. Even if the email looks perfect, I don’t trust it. So I will be even more careful now because I expect the efforts to steal information will increase, a lot.
I suggest you do the same.
Get ready for a wave of very confusing and professional looking spam. The value of the email addresses that have been stolen is great and the list will be sold to numerous bidders. Be very careful, don’t click on links in emails and consider creating a spam email address through a free service such as gmail, hotmail or yahoo. This won’t help in this situation, but it might help in the next one. You might even consider changing your current email address to your spam address and keeping a new one for personal correspondence with family and friends, if at all possible.
Be especially careful when it comes to anything involving providing personal information, passwords or banking information. Don’t randomly follow links and provide passwords, social security numbers or similar information.