It’s rare that I come home and discover my front door unlocked, but when I do, my anxiety escalates when I imagine all that COULD HAVE happened. An innocent mistake can expose my family’s personal valuables, my home office equipment, the Kubota tractor, and even worse…my dogs! Upon discovery, I have an instant pit in my stomach until I take a quick inventory and confirm that everything is accounted for.

Reading about the cause of the latest Verizon breach gave me the same pit in my stomach.

According to the article, “Amazon secures these servers by default. This means the errors that occur are due to changes someone makes with a security setting — typically by accident…” Accident?!? So, the cause of Verizon’s latest breach is similar to me running late for a dinner reservation and unintentionally leaving the front door unlocked? Yes.

A Verizon employee reportedly changed a security setting by accident, exposing my private data – and that of 13,999,999 other Verizon customers. He/she innocently left the door unlocked, so that virtually anyone could access my data. Was my personal information viewed by those intending to do harm? I may never know.

On a recent road trip with an executive friend of ours, I asked if he planned to do anything different knowing that his private data might have been exposed by Verizon. He said that he had no plans to do anything. Why? I asked. He replied that it is Verizon’s job to rectify the situation and make sure his data is protected, not his.

This is exactly why I started this blog – to help educate those with a “CyberSoWhat?” attitude. This blog will break down the important cyber incidents and translate to friends and family in a language they understand why they should care and to offer helpful resources for determining what post-incident action (s) they can take.

While I am not a cybersecurity professional, I interact with the best of the best on a daily basis – several who have agreed to vet my recommendations to you and provide further insight when required.

As for the Verizon breach, I can’t convince you to care that someone at Verizon left the front door to your data open, but a few simple actions on your part can reduce the risk of your personal data being misused as a result.

If you are a Verizon customer (cell, FIOS, email or all of the above), preventing potential damage from this breach is pretty basic: Update your PIN and pass codes. How do you do that? The following article includes some helpful instructions: