When Data Leaks

Laptop with Lock

You know you should protect yourself when you shop online, but this week’s hack of Zappos.com puts a fresh twist on how to do that.

The hackers only accessed data like names, emails, and addresses—no credit card numbers. But that’s enough information for them to commit fraud. They could even impersonate you.

The best way to fight back? Make it a pain for hackers to target you, says C. Matthew Curtin of Interhack Corporation. “The fewer databases you’re in, the fewer places where your data can be compromised.”


    • Limit your exposure. Assume that any information you enter online is discoverable. Don’t create retail accounts unless you must, and consider using a third-party payment site like PayPal or Google Checkout to add an additional layer of protection.


    • Shop anonymously. here’s no obligation to use your real name when you’re online. Create a special email account just for shopping. If you can, have purchases shipped to your work address or a P.O. box.


Hands off! How do you protect your personal data, online or off?