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Data breaches can sucker-punch you. Prepare to fight back

December 03, 2018 / LAURA HAUTALA

When a big data breach makes the news, there's one thing that can get lost in the noise -- the harm that hacking causes regular people like you. Experts tend to focus on the number of people whose records hackers stole, or whether the breached company could have prevented the hack. Those are important questions, but you can be forgiven for wondering what they have to do with you. What, really, is the worst that could happen to you personally? Plenty, according to consumer advocates. That's because data breaches make crimes such as identity theft and other scams much easier for criminals to carry out. That includes the blockbuster data breaches of 2018, such as when sophisticated attackers breached millions of Facebook accounts in September, or when a hacker accessed information from 27 million Ticketfly accounts in May or when hackers stole information from 500 million travelers in a breach of a database owned by Marriott.