Five Ways to Help Secure Your Data in Light of the IRS Breach

Five Ways to Help Secure Your Data in Light of the IRS Breach

It’s been floating around in the media recently, the attack where hackers “used taxpayer-specific data, including Social Security information, date of birth and street addresses, from non-IRS sources to gain unauthorized access to information on approximately 100,000 tax accounts through the ‘Get Transcript’ application.” This is just another example that proves the sophistication of hackers already having all the information they need to steal identities.

Advice from various security experts actually leaves all but a warm fuzzy feeling, saying that people can do nothing to secure their identity; however, there are some things people can do to make it more difficult for hackers:

  1. Use multifactor authentication. If any of your accounts offer this, turn it on. What typically happens is that you enter your password and then you’ll receive either an email or text message with a one-time use code that you must enter before you are allowed access to your account.

  2. Change your passwords…again. This is talked about until people are blue in the face from saying it and people’s ears bleed from hearing it, but apparently it still needs to be said. Change your password frequently and NEVER use the same password twice.

    Consider making your password a sentence, consisting of upper and lower case letters and random symbols. Or, create an anagram based on your favorite song lyrics, movie quotes or sayings. For example, from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Dumbledore said, “Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic…capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it.” This would become the following anagram: “Wa,ImNsHo,OmIsOm…CoBiIaRi.” (Take that, hackers!)

  3. Security questions are a thing of the past. Most sites use security questions like, “What is your mother’s maiden name?” or “What was the name of your first school?” and since public record searches on the Internet are simple, it’s fairly easy for hackers to get these answers.

    A recent study revealed that within 10 tries, an attacker would have a 39% chance of guessing a Korean-speaking user’s answer to the question, “What is your city of birth?” and a 43% chance of guessing his or her favorite food.

  4. Monitor your credit. Do this frequently throughout the year, using free services.

  5. Freeze your credit. Simply call Equifax, Experian or TransUnion and ask to have your account frozen. The agency will then mail a one-time PIN or password to unfreeze your account when you are ready.

About the Author

Ginger Hill is Group Social Media Manager.


  • Survey: Less Than Half of IT Leaders are Confident in their IoT Security Plans

    Viakoo recently released findings from its 2024 IoT Security Crisis: By the Numbers. The survey uncovers insights from IT and security executives, exposes a dramatic surge in enterprise IoT security risks, and highlights a critical missing piece in the IoT security technology stack. The clarion call is clear: IT leaders urgently need to secure their IoT infrastructure one application at a time in an automated and expeditious fashion. Read Now

  • ASIS International and SIA Release “Complexities in the Global Security Market: 2024 Through 2026”

    ASIS International and the Security Industry Association (SIA) – the leading security associations for the security industry – have released ”Complexities in the Global Security Market: 2024 Through 2026”, a new research report that provides insights into the equipment, technologies, and employment of the global security industry, including regional market breakouts. SIA and ASIS partnered with global analytics and advisory firm Omdia to complete the research. Read Now

  • President Biden Issues Executive Order to Bolster U.S Port Cybersecurity

    On Wednesday, President Biden issued an Executive Order to bolster the security of the nation’s ports, alongside a series of additional actions that will strengthen maritime cybersecurity and more Read Now

  • Report: 15 Percent of All Emails Sent in 2023 Were Malicious

    VIPRE Security Group recently released its report titled “Email Security in 2024: An Expert Look at Email-Based Threats”. The 2024 predictions for email security in this report are based on an analysis of over 7 billion emails processed by VIPRE worldwide during 2023. This equates to almost one email for everyone on the planet. Of those, roughly 1 billion (or 15%) were malicious. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity


New Products

  • AC Nio

    AC Nio

    Aiphone, a leading international manufacturer of intercom, access control, and emergency communication products, has introduced the AC Nio, its access control management software, an important addition to its new line of access control solutions. 3

  • Compact IP Video Intercom

    Viking’s X-205 Series of intercoms provide HD IP video and two-way voice communication - all wrapped up in an attractive compact chassis. 3

  • QCS7230 System-on-Chip (SoC)

    QCS7230 System-on-Chip (SoC)

    The latest Qualcomm® Vision Intelligence Platform offers next-generation smart camera IoT solutions to improve safety and security across enterprises, cities and spaces. The Vision Intelligence Platform was expanded in March 2022 with the introduction of the QCS7230 System-on-Chip (SoC), which delivers superior artificial intelligence (AI) inferencing at the edge. 3