We often hear about large multi-national companies being fined £150m here, and £200m there, but do we realise how close to home data breaches or hackers can get?

The answer is probably not – and, without even realising it, a lot of these data breaches occur as a result of us being careless with our data. I’m not talking about using easy to guess obvious passwords, or writing down your password and keeping it in your wallet – I’m talking about disclosing and telling people a lot more than we should!

A prime example of this is companies such as Netflix and Spotify – I’m not sure of the exact stats, but I wouldn’t mind betting that at least 6 out of 10 households have one or other (or maybe even both) of these or other subscription-based services. By the same token, anyone who does have one of these services also has a bank account, which is what the hackers seek to access.

Therefore, simply having a Netflix account could potentially be the key that enables an attacker to gain access to a user’s banking information. One way a financial institution verifies an account holder when they try to gain access is to verify a recent transaction, which is where subscription services come into play. Ultimately, there are only so many plans that a subscription service offers and the payments typically recur at the same time every month.

As a result, a lot of people will comment about their subscriptions on social media, telling all and sundry that they have just been paid again or have continued their subscriptions. This is what is known as “open source intelligence” (OSINT), and is the exact type of data that hackers feed on.

So, it’s not your bank’s fault that you use Netflix and it’s not Netflix’s fault that you charge it to the bank. Ultimately, any service provider you use is only responsible for their own privacy terms. Additionally, it is ultimately up to each individual to take care of their privacy themselves and be very aware of what they’re choosing to share with the world and who can see it.

To summarise – make sure that you’re owning your own privacy, and try and do routine checks by picking a day every month and asking yourself “what am I signed up for? What’s new? What am I going to share or did somebody else share something about me?”…… after all, prevention is most certainly easier than the cure!