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Hacked off: Protect your email from a breach

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High-profile breaches involving consumer data are becoming the norm. Rik Ferguson asks what individuals can do to protect against possible attacks.

Late in March, thousands of consumers had their email addresses stolen by cybercriminals who hacked into TripAdvisor and Play.com. Many of these consumers are now reporting an influx of spam and phishing attacks, leaving them concerned about the safety of their information online.

Hacking attacks are becoming more commonplace in the news today. Although varying in severity, there is one constant: people are left wondering why their information was open to such breaches, what is really being done to protect their information, and what should they be comfortable with sharing online?

In reality, hacks will always take place. As businesses improve their security, a hacker will always try to find a way round it. But it would certainly be advisable for companies to communicate such breaches in a more effective manner.

While no credit card details were stolen in either of these cases, it's important to get reassurance from the victimised companies to ensure people still part with their email addresses or other personal information, so practical advice is vital.

Vague and unhelpful post-breach advice

The emails both TripAdvisor and Play.com issued to announce their breaches were not only vague, but also provided little advice on what a customer should do beyond "ignore spam emails".

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