When news came out that the Office of Personnel Management—the agency within the federal government that serves as the HR department over government employees—had been hacked and 4.2 million citizens had their highly sensitive data stolen, that was cause for alarm. But now that the OPM has been hacked again, the damage is quite different.
Another week, another breach. That is how it seems these days. However, even once a breach has left the headlines, consumers need to keep their guard up because scammers and identity thieves don't just stop with their initial stolen goods.
Back in 2008, Heartland Payment Systems, a credit card payment processing center, suffered a data breach that exposed an estimated 130 million credit and debit card accounts to hackers. While this event was certainly a big deal at the time, a more recent data breach of its payroll processing system may have even bigger consequences.
Some 64 million members of an online dating site have reason to be a little more cautious today after news broke that AdultFriendFinder had suffered a data breach. The scope of the breach isn’t yet known, but the company is already alerting users to the fact that names, addresses, email addresses, sexual orientations, marital statuses, and other sensitive information may have been accessed.
Whenever news of a hacking event or data breach comes out, there’s always the logical question: what will a thief actually do with the information? Whether it’s just accessing your name or email address or actually infiltrating the files that contain more sensitive information like credit card numbers or Social Security numbers, the real threat is in how that information can be used.