M&S, TalkTalk, even Betty's Tea Shop - all losing your data

13 Nov 2015

Experian, Ashley Madison, Lloyds Bank, Carphone Warehouse have all been affected.  British Gas is also reporting that its customers' data may have been exposed.  Who's next?

What has happened?

Everywhere you look, the companies you trusted with your sensitive personal data are leaking your information.  Hackers have stolen millions of users’ personal details from supposedly secure websites.  Names, addresses, credit and debit card numbers, bank account details, dates of birth, etc.  This is all the information a hacker needs to steal your identity.

What are we doing wrong?

Surveys indicate that people are still struggling with basic safety precautions.  Almost two thirds (65%) claim they could do more to stay safe online.  Almost a quarter (22%) aren’t conscious about using strong passwords, 13% still have public social media accounts and one in ten don’t bother using security software on their connected devices.

What are BLM doing about it?

BLM take information and data security extremely seriously and are doing all that we can to ensure that BLM’s and our customer’s data is secure.  You need to do your bit.

What can you do?

Practice secure on-line computing - ALWAYS.  NEVER use the same password for more than one website.  Always use complex passwords, at least eight characters long, and change them frequently.  Ensure a password or PIN code protects all your devices, phones and tablets, use the highest security settings on your social media accounts.  Never disclose your confidential details when you are contacted by an email or on the phone – a legitimate organisation would never ask you to do this.

Remember to change your passwords frequently, no matter how difficult it is to do.  Install a reputable password manager app to save your passwords on a smartphone or on a computer, but do make sure the app is secure and from a reputable supplier.  Some unscrupulous hackers have created password management apps that send your passwords straight to them.  Make sure you back up your password manager securely, in case you lose your phone or your computer.  Encrypt the hard disk of your computer/laptop.  Consider getting a separate debit/credit card with a very low limit, just to be used for online transactions, so if the details do get stolen, your liability is limited.

Advice on all these topics is on the government recommended https://www.getsafeonline.org website.

Remember, these aren’t faceless and anonymous victims.  Online crime is always personal – don’t be a target.


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Disclaimer: This document does not present a complete or comprehensive statement of the law, nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight issues that may be of interest to customers of BLM. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in any particular case.

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