There's nothing worse than a payment app getting hacked, but that's exactly what's happened, as PayPal confirmed that it had experienced a data breach affecting tens of thousands of users.
Security breaches are certainly nothing new to online users. Strong passwords and multifactor authentication may help, but companies with lax security continue to drop the ball and user information is often at risk.
Unfortunately, payment platform PayPal has fallen victim to a security breach itself, and the information leaked is a lot more serious than your run of the mill hack.
Sensitive Information Vulnerable in PayPal Leak
PayPal users might want to take a quick glance at their accounts to make sure nothing is askew. In a notice from PayPal, the company warned users “about an incident” that “may have impacted their PayPal accounts.”
“During this time, the unauthorized third parties were able to view, and potentially acquire, some personal information for certain PayPal users.”
The personal information in question included usernames, addresses, Social Security numbers, individual tax identification numbers, and birth dates, which is some considerably valuable data. However, PayPal remains confident that the information was merely vulnerable and not necessarily obtained by third party hackers.
“We have no information suggesting that any of your personal information was misused as a result of this incident, or that there are any unauthorized transactions on your account.”
No information is certainly better than bad information, but PayPal users will have to make do with the potential that their personal data is somewhere it's not supposed to be.
How to Protect Yourself Online
Breaches like the one PayPal just experienced are far too common in the tech industry, but unfortunately, there isn't much you can do to protect yourself beyond exclusively using services that make a firm commitment to security.
However, there are plenty of other ways you can make sure your online behavior isn't opening you up to some kind breach or hack. Password managers are the best place to start, as they keep your first line of defense strong, even offering passwordless options in some cases.
If you want to take it to the next level, VPNs and antivirus software can make sure your online activity is protected and safe from malware and other nefarious systems online. Generally speaking, though, as long as you're vigilant and don't click on too many random links across the web, you should be fairly safe in the eyes of the average hacker.