Your Online Account May Have Been Breached? Don’t Just Sit There. Do Something. - Kanebridge News
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Your Online Account May Have Been Breached? Don’t Just Sit There. Do Something.

Too many people respond with a shrug and maybe change their password. That’s asking for trouble.

By RAJENDRAN MURTHY
Thu, Sep 28, 2023 7:47amGrey Clock 3 min

How do consumers respond when their online accounts are exposed to hackers? Many of them simply don’t.

Data breaches at major firms have become all too common, with more than 110 million user accounts exposed in just the second quarter of 2023. Yet our research found that nearly two-thirds of U.S. consumers would return to a site after they were notified of a breach—with only the bare minimum of precautions, like changing their passwords.

Almost a quarter of the roughly 200 people we surveyed said they would return to the compromised website with no changes to their behavior at all. Only 10% said they wouldn’t go back.

Even people who had cybersecurity training within the past 90 days—in other words, people who should be primed to protect themselves—took risks. In this subsequent study, over a quarter of roughly 500 people said they would return to the breached website while taking the absolute minimum security measures, and only about 9% would take more-complicated steps such as setting up two-factor authentication. And they would do that only if they experienced real financial consequences, like fraudulent charges on their credit cards.

Why wouldn’t people protect themselves? Many of the consumers we surveyed believed that there were few—if any—alternatives to the websites they used frequently, and all websites seemed to be affected by data breaches. Why bother beefing up security? Likewise, some people said they would stick with a compromised site because they had put so much time and effort into their presence on it—a classic sunk-cost fallacy.

Since doing nothing may put your finances and personal information at risk, what should you do in case of a breach? Based on my experience as a researcher in this domain and guided by input from customers recovering from data breaches, I recommend the following actions.

The first steps

Take each data-breach notification seriously. Immediately change passwords on the affected sites and sign up to follow the updates from the breached firm. This is also a good time to ensure your passwords are unique and not being used across several sites.

Find out what kind of breach it is. Some breaches violate your privacy—such as stealing your playlist or viewing preferences—but may not be as damaging as other hacks. So they may just require a simple password change on the affected site. Even the breach of encrypted password data, such as in the LastPass data breach, while serious, isn’t an immediate threat.

On the other hand, things like compromised credit-card numbers, financial data and personally identifiable information need stronger attention. Even seemingly innocuous breaches of social-media networks may reveal data that can be used to impersonate you and perhaps be used to invade the privacy of those around you. For instance, hackers might be able to figure out your “forgot password” questions on websites by learning where you grew up, the names of your pets and more.

The next steps

Set up push notifications for financial data. When you’re notified of data breaches that involve credit cards or payment information, review the transactions on the affected accounts, going back to the previous payment period. Whether or not there has been unusual activity, protect yourself by adding mobile push notifications for credit-card transactions—an option offered by most credit cards, online-payment mechanisms and banks. Most notifications happen in real time, so consumers affected by data breaches can quickly identify and contest improper charges.

Use free credit monitoring. Some credit cards and banking firms such as Discover and Chase provide free monitoring of consumer credit and provide monthly updates of noteworthy events and changes. Some go further and provide benefits such as removal of your personally identifiable information found on public sites, including data brokers. Using these services is an easy way to identify and report fraudulent activity, as well as protect against identity theft—so review this data regularly if your information has been exposed.

Enable dual-factor authentication on all of your accounts. This is a good practice in general but is especially important for anyone affected by data breaches. With dual-factor authentication, you enter your password as usual but then confirm your identity using a personal device, typically a mobile phone. This limits someone from logging into the account with a stolen password.

If your social-media platform has been breached

Along with enabling dual-factor authentication, there are a number of steps you should take in the event of a social-media breach.

First, change the password and log in with the new one. Check the login-activity page to see if anyone other than you has logged in, and then look for the option to delete all other active sessions—so every other device that is currently logged in is effectively logged out.

Also review all direct messages, posts, and comment activity on the account, and report anything suspicious. If it affects other people, let them know. Finally, pause or temporarily deactivate the account, if that is an option, to make it even tougher for hackers to get access.

Rajendran Murthy is the J. Warren McClure Research Professor of Marketing at the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Saunders College of Business.



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These stocks are getting hit for a reason. Instead, focus on stocks that show ‘relative strength.’ Here’s how.

By KEN SHREVE
Wed, Jun 12, 2024 4 min

A lot of investors get stock-picking wrong before they even get started: Instead of targeting the top-performing stocks in the market, they focus on the laggards—widely known companies that look as if they are on sale after a period of stock-price weakness.

But these weak performers usually are going down for good reasons, such as for deteriorating sales and earnings, market-share losses or mutual-fund managers who are unwinding positions.

Decades of Investor’s Business Daily research shows these aren’t the stocks that tend to become stock-market leaders. The stocks that reward investors with handsome gains for months or years are more often  already  the strongest price performers, usually because of outstanding earnings and sales growth and increasing fund ownership.

Of course, many investors already chase performance and pour money into winning stocks. So how can a discerning investor find the winning stocks that have more room to run?

Enter “relative strength”—the notion that strength begets more strength. Relative strength measures stocks’ recent performance relative to the overall market. Investing in stocks with high relative strength means going with the winners, rather than picking stocks in hopes of a rebound. Why bet on a last-place team when you can wager on the leader?

One of the easiest ways to identify the strongest price performers is with IBD’s Relative Strength Rating. Ranked on a scale of 1-99, a stock with an RS rating of 99 has outperformed 99% of all stocks based on 12-month price performance.

How to use the metric

To capitalise on relative strength, an investor’s search should be focused on stocks with RS ratings of at least 80.

But beware: While the goal is to buy stocks that are performing better than the overall market, stocks with the highest RS ratings aren’t  always  the best to buy. No doubt, some stocks extend rallies for years. But others will be too far into their price run-up and ready to start a longer-term price decline.

Thus, there is a limit to chasing performance. To avoid this pitfall, investors should focus on stocks that have strong relative strength but have seen a moderate price decline and are just coming out of weeks or months of trading within a limited range. This range will vary by stock, but IBD research shows that most good trading patterns can show declines of up to one-third.

Here, a relative strength line on a chart may be helpful for confirming an RS rating’s buy signal. Offered on some stock-charting tools, including IBD’s, the line is a way to visualise relative strength by comparing a stock’s price performance relative to the movement of the S&P 500 or other benchmark.

When the line is sloping upward, it means the stock is outperforming the benchmark. When it is sloping downward, the stock is lagging behind the benchmark. One reason the RS line is helpful is that the line can rise even when a stock price is falling, meaning its value is falling at a slower pace than the benchmark.

A case study

The value of relative strength could be seen in Google parent Alphabet in January 2020, when its RS rating was 89 before it started a 10-month run when the stock rose 64%. Meta Platforms ’ RS rating was 96 before the Facebook parent hit new highs in March 2023 and ran up 65% in four months. Abercrombie & Fitch , one of 2023’s best-performing stocks, had a 94 rating before it soared 342% in nine months starting in June 2023.

Those stocks weren’t flukes. In a study of the biggest stock-market winners from the early 1950s through 2008, the average RS rating of the best performers before they began their major price runs was 87.

To see relative strength in action, consider Nvidia . The chip stock was an established leader, having shot up 365% from its October 2022 low to its high of $504.48 in late August 2023.

But then it spent the next four months rangebound—giving up some ground, then gaining some back. Through this period, shares held between $392.30 and the August peak, declining no more than 22% from top to bottom.

On Jan. 8, Nvidia broke out of its trading range to new highs. The previous session, Nvidia’s RS rating was 97. And that week, the stock’s relative strength line hit new highs. The catalyst: Investors cheered the company’s update on its latest advancements in artificial intelligence.

Nvidia then rose 16% on Feb. 22 after the company said earnings for the January-ended quarter soared 486% year over year to $5.16 a share. Revenue more than tripled to $22.1 billion. It also significantly raised its earnings and revenue guidance for the quarter that was to end in April. In all, Nvidia climbed 89% from Jan. 5 to its March 7 close.

And the stock has continued to run up, surging past $1,000 a share in late May after the company exceeded that guidance for the April-ended quarter and delivered record revenue of $26 billion and record net profit of $14.88 billion.

Ken Shreve  is a senior markets writer at Investor’s Business Daily. Follow him on X  @IBD_KShreve  for more stock-market analysis and insights, or contact him at  ken.shreve@investors.com .