Computer crime concept

Let’s talk about the biggest internet breaches in 2016.

Computer crime concept

1. Myspace

Before Facebook and YouTube took over, Myspace ruled social media. If you re one of the over 360 million Myspace users with a pre-2013 account, it s likely your forgotten username and password were part of a breach in May 2016. The breach was discovered when these usernames and passwords showed up for sale on a hacker website. While Myspace has reset all of the passwords known to have been breached, your account name is also your email address. It s probably a good idea to change your email password and report suspicious emails to your email provider.

2. U.S. Office of Child Support Enforcement

Every once in a while, data breaches are the result of stolen hardware. This was the case in February 2016 when a laptop and some hard drives were stolen from the U.S. Office of Child Support and Enforcement in Washington state. The stolen gear contained records for an estimated 2 to 5 million people.

Government records are a favorite target of cybercrime since they often contain Social Security numbers alongside names and addresses. Cybercriminals use this data to take out loans in your name and destroy your credit. Keep an eye out for loan rejection letters and suspicious credit card statements, since these can tip you off to a stolen identity. If you suspect you re a victim, notify the police and file a report with the Federal Trade Commission as soon as possible.

3. Twitter

The microblogging site began notifying select users to change their passwords in early June 2016. According to an official release, Twitter suspects that the information was not obtained from a hack of Twitter s servers, suggesting that the usernames and passwords were stolen by password-stealing malware on users computers. Twitter did not disclose a specific number of users who were victims of the malware attack. If you were affected, Twitter has sent an email with instructions to help restore account access and reset your password.

Internet breaches are par for the course if you spend any time online; there s a good chance you ll be affected at least once in your lifetime. It s difficult to completely hide your personal data, but you can catch problems before they get out of control by keeping up to date with the latest news on internet breaches. Try to visit sites that use enhanced HTTPS security measures and stay away from file-sharing sites that are breeding grounds for malware. You can reduce your risk by investing in the right tools, such as antivirus software, password managers and identity theft protection, to help improve internet security each time you go online.