Is Your Data Safe– By Carlos Gamino, Milwaukee Attorney

There have been a lot of reports of stolen data all over the world, and the latest attack involved hackers pirating millions of dollars from well-known banks. In fact, the web security experts at Kaspersky called the most recent theft “the most successful criminal cyber campaign we have ever seen.”

The hackers used phishing scams on bank employees, installing malicious software right on bank computers through email. Hundreds of machines were infected with the malware, which allowed the hackers to record keystrokes and a system administrator’s screen. From there, they transferred huge amounts of money from banks all over the globe. They also sent signals to ATM machines to start dispensing money at specific times, sending couriers out to collect the cash.

So what does this mean to you?

You don’t have to rush to change all of your passwords, but you do have to take the appropriate precautions. (Changing your passwords won’t hurt, either.) What’s more important is protecting yourself from this moment forward—because hackers don’t just take from the “big guys.”

Most banks now offer temporary credit card numbers that you can use when you shop online. The numbers are good for a limited amount of time, and they’re only valid for one transaction. This system lets you continue to shop online without giving your credit card number to anyone else, including stores you trust.

Target was hacked in October 2014, and Amazon was hit in December. Neiman Marcus, Home Depot and even Xbox Live accounts weren’t immune. That means anywhere you’ve used a credit card is potentially an unsafe place for your data, which hackers can use for identity theft or to rack up massive debt that you’ll eventually have to deal with.

What do you do to keep your data safe? Do you avoid shopping online, or do you have an easy trick that you can share with the rest of us? Add your comment below or head over to my Facebook page to join the discussion!

Carlos Gamino