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What have we learned from data breaches?

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Data breaches happen a lot. Perhaps more than most people and retailers realize. Heartbleed was a perfect example of this- by the time it was discovered and fixed, it had left us susceptible to attacks for three years. It may make you want to swear off the internet forever, but it doesn't have to be that way. You can protect yourself from most cyber attacks. For starters, if you think your card may have been compromised, have it replaced immediately. Use protection services to monitor your accounts, and be sure to check your credit report regularly. Most importantly, don’t overshare on social networks. There are actually people who post pictures of their cards on social media for all to see. Don’t be one of those people.

Even if you protect yourself fully, you can still be vulnerable to data breaches when you spend money. Some attackers can use the point of sale terminals inside a store to gain access to your card information. Others can defeat encryption on online retail sites to steal your information. Once they have access to your information, they can use it in multiple ways. Some may try to make purchases directly, while others may sell your card information to the highest bidder. This can also expose you to identity theft.

Data breaches cost banks and merchants a lot of money. The average cost is $200 per breached record, which adds up to an average of over $5 million per retailer. The recent data breach at Target cost the retail giant $61 million. It also cost financial institutions and credit unions over $230 million to replace compromised cards.

Learn more about your vulnerability on the internet and take steps to protect yourself. This infographic outlines the basic lessons we've learned from recent breaches. Be sure to share with your friends so they can be protected, too.