What to do when you get a data breach notification

What to do when you get a data breach notification

Emily Chioconi by Emily Chioconi on

News of a data breach is stressful, to say the least. What was stolen? Is your data safe? What are you actually supposed to do next? Thankfully, 1Password has your back. Let’s walk through the simple steps you can take to secure your data in the event of a breach, whether at home or at work.

Check Watchtower

Watchtower is built right into 1Password and lets you know about security breaches on the websites you use, along with other vulnerabilities like weak passwords or unsecured sites. You can learn more about the details of the breach, including what data may have been accessed and the date of the breach.

Depending on the site that’s been compromised, sensitive information like your credit cards, banking information, or Social Security number can be at risk. Check Watchtower and read the details of the data breach to help you decide on the appropriate next steps, like contacting your bank or credit card company.

Because Watchtower only notifies you of security issues with sites you’ve saved, it’s important to add all your sites to 1Password. You can also check Watchtower any time to find out if any lower risk websites you use have been compromised. Depending on the site that’s been compromised, sensitive information like your credit cards, banking information, or Social Security number can be at risk. Checking Watchtower and reading the details of the data breach will help you decide on the appropriate next steps, like contacting your bank or credit card company.

Screenshot showing a login item with a compromised password in Watchtower

Watchtower will only notify you of security issues with sites you’ve saved, so that’s all the more reason to add all your accounts to 1Password. You can also check in on Watchtower any time to find out if any lower risk websites you use have been compromised.

Find out more: Use Watchtower to find passwords you need to change.

Change your password

If Watchtower alerts you of a data breach, your next step is to change your password for the compromised site. 1Password will generate a strong, unique password that you don’t have to commit to memory. Even if the breach did not include login information, it’s best to change your password regardless.

If you’ve reused passwords for different websites, one data breach can lead to several of your accounts being compromised. Take this opportunity to change any reused passwords and limit your vulnerability.

Find out more: Change your passwords to make them stronger.

Turn on two-factor authentication

Wherever possible, always turn on two-factor authentication (2FA) to add a second layer of security to your accounts, on top of your usual login details. This extra verification method means that even if someone else has your password, it’ll be much harder for them to gain access.

When it comes to 2FA, text message verification is less secure than using an authentication app. Phones can be stolen, SIM cards can be counterfeited, and texts are often sent to more than one device, like a laptop or tablet. Instead, use 1Password as an authenticator for sites with two-factor authentication, so you can store and quickly access your one-time passwords when you turn on 2FA verification for a website. You can even use Watchtower to easily check for sites that offer two-factor authentication.

Find out more: Use 1Password as an authenticator for sites with two-factor authentication.

Secure your business with domain breach reports

If you use 1Password Business or 1Password Teams, create a domain breach report to get a list of all company email addresses affected by known data breaches. You can see which email addresses have been affected as well as the kinds of data exposed, so you can prioritize your next steps.

Screenshot of a domain breach report

You can even send a customizable email notification to anyone impacted by a breach so they can update their information immediately. The email lets your team know exactly what has been breached and provides easy-to-follow instructions on how to address the risks. If they’re not already using 1Password, you can also invite them directly from the report so they can generate strong, unique passwords and safely store them for easy access.

Find out more: Create a domain breach report for your company.

Be proactive: best practices

You don’t have to wait for the next data breach to tighten up your online security. Instead, be proactive by making security a habit.

  • Check Watchtower. You can see weak and reused passwords at a glance and get notifications about data breaches.
  • Create strong, unique passwords. Always use a password generator, and never reuse passwords.
  • Protect your credit card numbers. Whenever possible, use Apple Pay or Google Pay. Or try Privacy Cards to keep your card number confidential.
  • Delete old accounts. Fewer accounts means a smaller chance that you’ll be involved in a data breach.

1Password has you covered

Although data breaches can never be completely avoided, you can still be proactive with your online security. Think progress, not perfection. With 1Password, it’s easy to make a habit of staying on top of security breaches and protecting your data.

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Content Writer

Emily Chioconi - Content Writer Emily Chioconi - Content Writer

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