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Breach Monitoring — Respond to a Data Breach In Real Time

Lukas Grigas
Cybersecurity Content Writer

Today, we're introducing Breach Monitoring — a new NordPass Premium feature that constantly monitors your email addresses for data breaches and sends real-time alerts in case of an emergency.

Say one of your emails is compromised in a breach. With Breach Monitoring on, you will get a notification about the breach in real time and be able to act immediately to limit its potentially disastrous effects. Here's all you need to know about Breach Monitoring and why it is a worthy addition to NordPass.

Data Breaches are more common than ever

In the digital age, data reigns supreme. These days, all businesses deal with data in one way or another. Whether it's a financial institution handling sensitive customer data or an individual operation collecting contact information of its clientele, data is a significant part of all enterprises regardless of their size or industry. Data informs decision-making, improves efficiency, enables better customer service, and plays a major role in marketing.

After a record year in terms of breaches in 2021, cybercrooks aren't taking any time for a vacation. RiskBased Security reports that in 2021 alone, 22 billion records were exposed due to data breaches.

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Just in the first quarter of 2022 we found a 14% increase in data breaches.

Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC)

The numbers for 2022 are not in just yet, but we can safely assume that the trend is pointing north. With all that in mind, it is natural that more people than ever are worried about data breaches and the potential loss of their sensitive data, which can ultimately lead to identity theft.

Why is acting fast critical in the case of a data breach?

Data breaches are anxiety-inducing, time-consuming, and costly for individuals and businesses alike.

An organization acting swiftly in the case of a breach means lessening the potential costs and reputational damage associated with a breach. In fact, the GDPR requires all organizations to report certain data breaches related to personally identifiable information to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) within 72 hours of them becoming aware of the breach. Under the GDPR, failure to do so is punishable by a fine.

An individual acting quickly after discovering that their data has been compromised in a breach means limiting the damage related to the loss of sensitive data.

Think of it this way: once bad actors breach a particular website or online service and they have your data in their hands, which can include passwords and usernames, it is a matter of time before the rest of your accounts are compromised, especially if you tend to reuse passwords.

Fail to act in time, and you might be looking at identity theft, which can be devastating. Think social media takeover or the use of your financial information to obtain a loan fraudulently. Identity theft can take thousands of dollars and hours to repair.

Breach Monitoring: promptly mitigate the effects of a data breach

Breach Monitoring is designed to detect data breaches and notify users about what happened in real time. In a certain sense, Breach Monitoring is the natural extension of the Data Breach Scanner. The new feature can be found in the Data Breach Scanner section of the NordPass vault.

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Breach Monitoring is designed with automation in mind. Unlike the Data Breach Scanner, the new feature will not require your interaction once it is set up to do its work. The email address associated with your NordPass account will be added to the monitoring list automatically. To add additional email addresses for Breach Monitoring, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Navigate to the Data Breach Scanner section in the NordPass vault.

  2. Find the Breach Monitoring tab at the top of the page.

  3. Once you select it, add additional email addresses.

  4. Verify the email address.

  5. As soon as your email address is verified, Breach Monitoring will start daily automated scans for data breaches of the added email.

You can add as many email addresses as you wish for monitoring. If unfortunately one of the addresses is compromised in a breach, you will be instantly notified by NordPass.

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I've been notified of a breach. What should I do?

If the NordPass Breach Monitoring notifies you that one of your email addresses has been compromised in a data breach, acting swiftly is critical to mitigating the potential damage. The longer you wait to act, the more disastrous consequences you will face.

Change your passwords

If you've been a victim of a data breach, changing your passwords related to the breached email is the very first thing you should do. When creating a new password, make it long (at least 12 characters long) and use a healthy mix of uppercase and lowercase letters as well as numbers and special symbols. A password generator is an excellent tool in such an instance because it adheres to all the password strength requirements and works automatically.

Enable multi-factor authentication on all of your accounts

Multi-factor authentication is an extra layer of security that we can enable on most online accounts to ensure better safety. Enabling it means that you will need to take an extra step to verify your identity in addition to a password and a username. This is usually done via one-time passwords (OTP) — a 4-8 digit code that is usually sent to you via SMS, email, or an authentication app. With MFA enabled on your accounts, hackers with your username and password won't be able to access your account because they will fail the MFA authentication step.

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