In the wake of the eBay hacking that saw the world’s largest online security breach, thoughts must now turn to what can be done to protect ourselves from identity theft.
Some 233 million eBay users across the globe – including an estimated 15 million from Britain – could now be at risk.
It is thought that passwords, names, addresses and telephone numbers could all be in the hands of hackers, showcasing why careful consideration is required when entering details online.
The latest hack dwarfs the previous record of 160m people that were targetted by a long-term hack that occurred between 2008 and 2013.
The company has already warned customers to change their passwords as a matter of urgency and to change any other accounts that may use the same password.
The need to remain vigilant
It is always best to have different passwords for every application that is used, especially when it comes to purchasing goods online.
Security experts have already raised concerns over the potential for fraudulent activity and have warned people to be vigilant.
The major issue raised from the hack is that some telephone banking services only require a date of birth and address to verify the identity of a customer.
It is believed that the hack took place some point between February and March although the auction site said it only discovered some of the details a matter of weeks ago.
eBay, which also owns the payment service PayPal, has insisted that no financial data was stolen and that PayPal’s servers had not been compromised.
Protecting yourself with a prepaid card option
One way of tackling the issue is to use a prepaid card when purchasing goods online – the card is not directly linked to a bank account meaning fraud is a lot more difficult.
Additional security measures such as Chip and PIN can also be used when purchasing goods in shops to provide additional security.
The key aspect though is that the amounts on cards can be limited by what is loaded onto them, meaning funds can be easily managed.
The cards can also be easily replaced if lost or stolen, without funds on the card being affected.
When entering details online, it’s important to enter the minimum level required as this provides a greater level of protection should your details be leaked.
Checking security certificates of websites and using only trusted sites is another way of ensuring that you remain as protected as possible from the effects of fraud.