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Security & privacy

2018 has been a year of bad data leaks

Your personal information is vulnerable to attack. We’re talking about your name, credit card numbers, passport information, phone number, address and more.

How do you know this? Well, it seems that we’re telling you about a massive data breach just about every week.

The biggest leaks involve tens of millions of people like you. Plus, the companies who inadvertently expose your personal information to criminals eventually get around to telling you about it, so you can do something to protect yourself, like change your password.

But, even as data breaches have become more commonplace, these four stand out. These data leaks are some of the worst ones so far this year.

Facebook (50+ million users)

You use Facebook, of course – more than 2 billion people do. You may have heard about its worst data breach ever with about 50 million users’ accounts taken over by hackers.

The hackers stole the digital reminders, or keys. Those remember your password so you don’t have to type it in.

It involved 50 million hacked users plus 40 or so million people who used Facebook’s View As feature. That’s where you can see how other people see your Facebook page.

Here’s what do to: This is what the Federal Trade Commission says you should do to protect yourself.

First, hang up if someone calls you, even if they’re claiming to be a family member or old friend. This could be a Facebook scam, especially if you have clicked on tempting posts that promise you a chance to win a free trip, or something similar.

The problem is, those scams look real and ask you to input your personal details. It’s so easy to fall victim to one of these scams.

The FTC says, “if you want to know for sure if the person calling you was really your family member or was really from a company you know and trust, call them back at a number you know to be correct.”

Second, change your Facebook password. Facebook says it has already done that for the users whose information was breached or who used its View As function.

Ticketmaster (40,000 users)

Your ears probably perked up when you heard about the Ticketmaster data leak. After all, you’ve probably used the site to buy tickets to concerts and live theater productions.

As it turns out, you were hearing about it like everyone else, months after the breach. Hackers from the group Magecart were able to steal your money, your address and credit card information. Ticketmaster kept it quiet for a long time.

You may have also breathed easier when you heard that only about 40,000 users were affected. This one is serious, though, because of the sensitive information they stole.

More to the point, the breach actually affected a third-party company InBenta, which Ticketmaster works with. The breach has hit an estimated 800 e-commerce sites.

T-Mobile (2 million users)

T-Mobile’s Metro PC reported a breach that affected about 3 percent of T-Mobile’s customers – about 2 million people. This was back in August and T-Mobile was pretty quick about reporting it and fixing the problem.

However, the information that was leaked is alarming. T-Mobile said your name, phone number, ZIP code, email address and account number were exposed to hackers.

British Airways (380,000 website and mobile app users)

More than 380,000 people had their personal information stolen just last month. It occurred on the British Airways site and app.

British Airlines is the largest airline in the UK. More than 123,000 people take a British Airways flight every day to cities all over the United States and world.

How to protect yourself: British Airways suggests you call your bank or credit card company if you used it on their website or app in August or September.

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