Data Breaches and Mental Health: A New Wave of Anxiety

Victims of data breaches are now living in constant fear of the possible harm having their private data in the wrong hands could cause. While the use of data privacy software to secure users from cyberattacks has been encouraged, identity thieves are preying on people who are unaware of this remedy. They wipe off years of hard work, employment history, and struggles of financial independence using their victim’s information, and it doesn’t stop there. Experiencing a data breach has put these victims in a negative mental space that constantly torments their physical well-being and general functionality. 

In past times, many have only paid attention to the financial damage this breach can cause, they have failed to fully understand that victims of this cyberattack wrestle with mental health issues like depression and anxiety, as they have been stripped of their identity, making them feel vulnerable to other attacks.

In this article, we’ll be explaining how data breaches impact the mental health of their victims and a guide to avoiding falling victim to data theft.

How does a data breach affect mental health?

When a victim experiences a data breach, they immediately feel vulnerable and may have panic attacks, as they realize that their privacy has been taken away from them. This also brings a feeling of anxiety and stress. Victims begin to think of all the possible damages this data breach could bring to their career and finances. These feelings can heighten when the organization overseeing the situation failed to undergo the data mapping process or refuses to offer adequate help or take the right actions in recovering their personal information.

Steps to take to protect your data

Cybercriminals are unpredictable, and you may never know when they intend to strike. To keep yourself prepared, here are some steps to take:

1. Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi

Unlike home Wi-Fi, public Wi-Fi is not encrypted and can increase your risk of exposure to a data breach. Cybercriminals can easily track your activities and strike when they notice a flaw in your security input.

2. Create Strong Passwords

Strong passwords make it difficult for cybercriminals to access your data. Avoid using the same passwords across all platforms and ensure your chosen password can’t be guessed easily.

3. Be Aware of Privacy Settings

Users can access privacy settings for every website they visit. It is important that you pay attention to these settings and restrict the website’s access to certain information to avoid a data breach.

4. Avoid Untrustworthy Sites

Untrusted websites are the major tool of cybercriminals. Be sure to avoid visiting untrustworthy websites. To identify trustworthy websites, pay attention to the lock sign close to the URL, scam sites don’t usually have this sign.

5. Backup Your Data

Back-up your data in a cloud-based server to avoid cybercriminals from demanding a ransom to release your important information.

What should I do when there’s a data breach?

1. Contact an expert

In cases where the data breach is as a result of an organization’s negligence, you’d need to contact a breach specialist to see if you’re entitled to compensation. They also provide other favorable options.

2. Contact your bank or financial provider

You would need to contact your bank to have your accounts shut down to avoid any sketchy withdrawals.

3. Observe communication channels

Avoid opening any links or attachments that look faux. You should also pay close attention to messages from relevant organizations and ensure they’re authentic before providing any important details.