Want to protect your sensitive data online? Chris Price looks at cybersecurity software from Bitdefender that helps you discover if your online accounts could have been hacked or if someone is impersonating you on social media.
Every day, we see stories about how a company was hacked, and data from its clients was leaked online. But how do you know which data leak could have affected you, especially if it’s a company you may not even realise you’ve dealt with in the past?
Alongside its free antivirus software, the Romanian cybersecurity company Bitdefender offers a security package called digital identity protection that allows users to track your digital footprints online. In the current version, it costs £40 a year (or £3.33 a month), and it scans the dark web for sensitive pieces of information about you that a cybercriminal might use.
Once you’ve registered, you will see a console displaying various options to help with your online identity protection. On the main dashboard, you can see what number of websites hold your personal data (in my case, 69 across 90 websites) and, most importantly, when and how that data was compromised. There are also links at the top of the console that let you dig deeper into this information.
Another way of protecting yourself online is with a VPN. Go to VPN Check to find the best one for you.
Using the data breaches tab, I was able to see that my LinkedIn data could have been compromised. I was given a link that took me to the social media site, where I changed my password and added two-factor authentication for more security.
I also found details about other companies that had compromised my information, including blog commenting system Disqus and other online companies that were unknown to me (such as Onliner Spambot). My details were available to them – presumably because they were sold to them or obtained illegally by phishing attempts and other forms of identity theft.
Furthermore, Bitdefender provides historical articles to read about specific data breaches that may have affected you and educational resources where you can learn about current privacy issues. For example, there was an interesting article about how you can prevent people who share your Netflix account from seeing your viewing history. Simply, select Account, then Profile, then Parental Controls, then press View and the No Entry symbol.
Social media impersonation
Besides protecting your sensitive data, such as email and passwords, Bitdefender software also protects social media. You can also conduct an impersonation check, which automatically finds all social media accounts associated with your name and asks you to verify whether they are genuine or not.
For example, it found a Facebook account linked to my name that I set up for work purposes years ago but never used. It also found several Google+ profiles, although they cannot be viewed since Google shut down the service for consumers in 2019.
The digital identity protection software provided by Bitdefender might seem like it is particularly suited to people who are overly paranoid, but I don’t believe this is the case. There were some items that the software uncovered that probably wouldn’t be helpful to cybercriminals, like old email addresses and no longer used phone numbers.
However, it also uncovered some sites that had been compromised and were able to access my personal information. In addition to providing links to change passwords and adding two-factor authentication quickly to these sites, it potentially helped me protect my digital identity from potential hackers. My peace of mind is definitely worth the extra £40 per year.
- Monitor your digital footprint starting with an email address and phone number
- Benefit from ongoing breach monitoring for 5 email addresses
- Find your private information online, in legal and illegal collections of data
- Check if your data has been exposed on the Dark Web
- Get instant alerts for the new breaches and privacy threats
- Detect your Social Media impersonators