With the rise of social media and online shopping, hacks, cyberattacks, and data breaches have become increasingly prevalent. Consumers share more and more of their personal data, leaving them vulnerable to various types of online attacks — and in 2019, consumers saw no shortage of hacks and data breaches.

Multiple industries spanning from tech to e-commerce experienced cyberattacks. Hackers targeted well-known social media giants and popular lifestyle brands, throwing out the common assumption that only financial institutions are at risk of being attacked. Today, hackers will target any brand or market, and that's evident in the variety of industries and companies that hackers aimed for in 2019.

What were the most significant cyberattacks of 2019?

Perhaps the most infamous privacy breach in 2019 was the Facebook data debacle. In January 2019, security company Upguard Cyber Risk notified digital media company Cultura Colectiva that over 540 million Facebook users' information had been exposed on a publicly accessible server. It wasn't until April that Facebook secured the storage server the data was hosted on, but the social media giant did so three months after Upguard's initial comment. While the storage server is now secure, Facebook users' data is unfortunately still out there, and this isn't the first time the social media giant has allowed that to happen

But Facebook isn’t the only target of cyberattacks. In 2019, First American Financial revealed that nearly 885 million files of mortgage transactions were exposed, including bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, and tax records. The data breach was detected by security blogger Brian Krebs, who confirmed that any person who had been emailed a link to a document by First American Financial could access the records. After being notified by Krebs, First American Financial shut down the affected site, but the vulnerability still gave consumers a reason to be concerned.

Another data disaster in 2019 affected StockX, a fashion and sneaker trading platform that many sneakerheads visit on a regular basis. In the fall, a hacker stole nearly seven million consumer records and sold on the information on the dark web for a small fee of $300. The compromised data included customer names, usernames, and shoe size.

With the number of cyberattacks increasing and the impact devastating businesses and consumers alike, it's no longer a secret that cybersecurity is essential. However, what's even more essential is card security, one of the top solutions that can prevent consumers from facing the consequences of data breaches, hacks, and cyberattacks. Keep reading to learn why, and how you can proactively use Privacy to combat this.

The importance of card security in today's world

Consumer data is highly sensitive, and therefore highly valuable to hackers. Even if the information that's leaked seems harmless, it's still data that a hacker can use to impersonate a consumer online.

Companies are already taking measures to combat this issue and protect consumer data from malicious cyberattacks, but consumers also have to be vigilant about how they share their data, especially their card information, as hackers commonly target these records.

With a secure card, consumers can avoid all of the pitfalls that are associated with cyberattacks, including:

1. High liabilities

Fraud committed on credit cards is treated differently than those on debit cards. If fraud occurs on a credit card, the protections are better, and the situation is usually taken care of within ten days. However, with a debit card, it becomes more tricky.

For starters, it can take longer for a consumer to get their money back on a debit card. In addition, the consumer's liability is higher with a debit card. If the card is reported lost or stolen within two days, there is a $50 liability. If it's reported within 60 days, that liability skyrockets to $500. And usually, if the consumer reports the debit card stolen or lost after 60 days, there is no protection at all.

2. Inconveniences and stress

While bigger banks are skilled at detecting fraud, it's still a significant inconvenience for consumers. Individuals usually have to wait a couple of weeks before they get their money back, and this can be a stressful interim, especially if consumers don't have enough money to support themselves in the meantime. There is also a wait associated with canceling and receiving a new card, both of which are a bother and time-consuming effort that a lot of people don't want to handle.

3. Swapping out or updating cards

Most consumers have multiple cards for different services (e.g., a separate card for streaming services, gym memberships, household bills, etc.). When there's a data breach, it can be frustrating for consumers to go through and update every single card. Think about it. Would you have fun updating all of your cards because of a sudden data breach? The answer is likely no. You don’t want to waste time on such a tedious task.

A secure card can eliminate this hassle and save consumers time. If hackers can't access people's card information, there's no need for consumers  to swap out or update anything.

4. Having information resold to other hackers

A data breach is a hugely vulnerable experience because consumers' payment information is released, and it's usually not sold to one particular hacker. Oftentimes, hackers steal the information, and then the data gets sold and resold many times. And want to know what usually happens after that? Identity theft.

In the past, the primary method of identity theft was to steal a person's Social Security number. Unfortunately, that is not the case today. While stealing someone's Social Security number is still awful, consumer identity is determined in increasingly different ways online. Many retailers and merchant processors don't require a full Social Security number at all, so hackers have started piecing information together from various sources.

Hackers use a person's name, date of birth, address, and workplace to mirror the consumer whose data they've stolen — and this is often enough information to create a compelling profile and cause real damage. With a secure card, however, consumers don't have to worry about hackers buying and selling their information to one another, or committing identity theft A secure card mitigates these issues entirely.

The impact of cyberattacks, hacks, and data breaches are not easy to handle and cope with, especially when consumers have busy lives that keep them on the move. To ensure people have one less thing to worry about, they need to have secure cards, but what features do secure cards even offer?

Security features a card should offer to protect consumers' information

In light of consumers' growing vulnerability online, it is imperative that they not only prioritize card security, but they also find cards that have the necessary features that offer such security. The best cards will protect consumers' data by providing a few different benefits.

1. Spending limits: If consumers can set limits on how much money they can take out, they will significantly reduce the financial impact they might experience if a hacker steals their card information. You can use Privacy’s spend limit function here.

2. Pseudonyms: By allowing pseudonyms, Privacy can reduce the amount of payment information and liability that a consumer is exposed to when shopping at a merchant. Even if there is a data breach, consumers' identity is kept safe because they used a pseudonym during checkout.

3. Disposable card numbers: If a consumer buys something from a merchant, and they don't intend on purchasing from that merchant again, Privacy offers the option for consumers to have a disposable card number. With that feature, the card automatically closes two minutes after the transaction, which means consumers don't have to worry about the card being used by hackers.

It's time for consumers to protect themselves

By enhancing card security, consumers can protect themselves from potential data breaches, cyberattacks, and hacks. With the features above, not only will people ensure their personal data is safe, but they will also have peace of mind after they make a purchase. Those two benefits alone are enough to support why card security is so important.

Have you ever been affected by a major data breach? Tweet at us (@PrivacyHQ) with your stories and get started with Privacy today.