Frontier Communications Suffers Data Breach Exposing Customer Social Security Numbers





Woman on laptop looking disappointed

Are you a Frontier Communications customer? Your personal data may have been exposed.

Data breaches are becoming more common, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself. Frontier Communications has informed the state of Maine’s Attorney General of a data breach impacting 750,000 customers.

The listing online trying to sell the data also claims to include customers’ date of birth and phone numbers, according to a report from PCMag.

Are you impacted? Here are steps you can take to protect yourself.

Step 1: Move quickly when informed

A company is obligated to disclose whether the information you’ve supplied to them has been exposed, so keep an eye out for those notifications. Once notified, move quickly. Speed is of the essence when working to protect yourself. 

Figure out what information has been exposed. That will help you determine the steps you need to take. 

Keep in mind that while a company needs to disclose that you’ve been involved in a data breach, it may not be so forthcoming with the details.

Step 2: Look at your passwords

If you’re like many people, you tend to recycle passwords across different accounts. It’s an awful practice—but given how many accounts people juggle, it’s understandable. If one of those passwords happens to be one caught up in a breach, a hacker potentially has access to many different accounts and services in your name. 

So, if you use the same passwords over and over, change them! 

Better yet, sign up for a password manager, which will auto-generate different, complicated passwords for all your different accounts, leaving you to just remember the single password. 

But keep in mind that even password managers can be breached, as was Lastpass late last year. Bitwarden offers a fairly complete version of its password management software for free, and services like 1Passworld and Dashlane offer more bells and whistles if you’re willing to pay a premium.

Just know that they’re not immune to attacks (look at Lastpass), so you may need to be prepared to move services if one shows it can’t adequately protect you. 

Step 3: Two-factor authentication

Adding a second layer of protection onto your most critical accounts is also key. That usually includes two-factor authentication, in which you’re sent a second, randomized password or pin number to enter in addition to your standard password, further ensuring that you are, indeed, you. 

This is a feature offered by banks and many other services, so take advantage of it when possible.

Many companies offer text message-based multi-factor authentication, but given how easily it is for your cellphone number to get exposed, security experts recommend using an app-based authentication app like Google Authenticator or Authy. For those particularly vigilant, a physical fob like one from Yubikey is the ideal solution. 

Step 4: Work with the credit agencies

You can file a fraud alert with the three credit bureaus—Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax—that will have the agencies contact you for verification if someone attempts to file a credit application in your name. 

Remember: The fraud alert only lasts for a year, after which you can manually extend it yourself. 

You can also request to freeze or lock your credit, which limits or restricts other businesses from accessing your credit. This can be a hassle if you’re doing something like signing up for Internet service, since the freeze will prevent the company from accessing your information. 

Step 5: Continue to monitor your credit and accounts

Even after you lock down your credit, you’ll still need to keep an eye on your accounts. But sometimes, that can be overly burdensome, and its only human nature for that vigilance to fade over time. 

You can choose to sign up for a service like Norton LifeLock or American Express’s CreditSecure to monitor your accounts and passwords. These services monitor whether your passwords or accounts have been exposed and give you regular updates.

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