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Resources > Identity Protection > Norton LifeLock Breach—What Exactly Happened?

Norton LifeLock Breach—What Exactly Happened?

Regardless of how much time you spend on the internet, protecting your identity online should be your main priority as statistics show that there were 58,859 reported cases of personal data breaches in the U.S. in 2022 alone. This is why many people turn to identity protection services like Norton LifeLock for security—but can you be sure your data is safe with these providers? After all, 72.7% of organizations worldwide experienced a ransomware attack in 2023.

In this article, we’ll discuss the Norton LifeLock breach of 2022 to provide you with all the information you need when deciding on your ideal identity security service.

Norton LifeLock Hacked in 2022—The Story Behind the Data Breach

The LifeLock data breach happened in December of 2022 when the company was hacked by Cl0p, a Russian ransomware gang. They entered the company’s system by exploiting the MOVEit vulnerability, although it’s unknown which one exactly. This allowed the hackers full access to the web repository, enabling them to upload files and manage existing ones.

Norton LifeLock became aware of the incident on December 12, when intrusion detection systems alerted the security teams to unusual activity. The cyberattack was then traced back to December 1. Eventually, investigators concluded that the third party most likely obtained large lists of login information on the dark web and tried to access as many accounts as possible.

Nearly one million customer accounts were compromised in the cyberattack, and the third party may have obtained the following user information:

  1. Usernames and passwords
  2. First and last names
  3. Phone numbers
  4. Mailing addresses

When the data breach occurred, Norton LifeLock was given 45 days to inform customers that their personal data or login credentials had potentially been stolen, which is the maximum amount of time to send a notice established by Vermont’s Data Breach Protection Law. Following the attack, Norton urged all its customers to change their passwords and add multi-factor authentication to their Norton accounts.

Potential Consequences of a Data Breach Like the LifeLock Hack

The Department of Justice warns that once an identity criminal gets their hands on your personal information, they can use it to:

  • Steal money from your bank account
  • Run up charges on your credit cards
  • Open new accounts using your name
  • Get medical treatment on your health insurance 

Sometimes, identity criminals go as far as filing a tax return in your name to get your refund or even giving your name to the police during an arrest. To achieve all this, they typically look for data like personally identifiable information (PII), bank details, or personal health information (PHI). They may also search for sensitive information such as photos and videos. Here are some specific consequences that can occur when this type of information is compromised:

  1. You can experience a financial loss
  2. You may lose health care benefits
  3. Hackers can take over your account
  4. Identity criminals can impersonate you on social media

Experiencing a Financial Loss

Financial fraud is the most frequent reason for identity theft. When a criminal steals your PII or credit card numbers, they can create duplicate credit cards using your credit card numbers or empty your bank account by using your information to withdraw funds. They can also:

  • Obtain loans fraudulently
  • Apply for credit using your information
  • Commit check fraud in your name

If you suspect fraud, make sure you report it as soon as possible to have a higher chance of disputing the charges.

Losing Health Care Benefits

While financial fraud is the most frequent crime of identity criminals, stolen PHI can be more than ten times as valuable as stolen credit card information. Getting your PHI stolen can result in losing health care benefits, but that’s not even the worst consequence. Identity criminals may also use this information to:

  • Obtain medical treatments or prescription drugs illegally
  • Alter your medical records
  • Sell your PHI to other criminals so they can use it for various illegal activities 

Hackers Taking Over Your Accounts

Hackers can use the passwords leaked in a data breach to try to access your accounts and steal or misuse any sensitive information found there. Email accounts are particularly vulnerable to attacks—as soon as criminals gain access to your email, they can reset the password and take control of your other accounts like social media or banking accounts.

While security questions are supposed to protect your email from cyberattacks, identity criminals can often easily find the answer by looking through your online footprint.

Identity Criminals Impersonating You on Social Media

Once identity criminals overtake your social media profiles, they can use them for various malicious activities like scamming or blackmailing the people you know. For example, they can:

  • Use your online identity for phishing scams
  • Damage your personal and professional relationships by posting profane content online
  • Extort you using sensitive photos and videos they may find in your accounts

How To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

With identity theft on the rise, different forms of ID theft call for various protection methods to safeguard you from becoming a victim of identity criminals. Some protection measures may work better than others, but combining all of them is the best way to keep yourself protected at all times. You should do the following:

  1. Avoid reusing passwords
  2. Frequently check your bank and credit card accounts
  3. Set up a fraud alert
  4. Use an identity protection service

Avoid Reusing Passwords

If you have a habit of reusing passwords, you may want to reconsider. Once identity criminals crack one password, they can gain access to all or most of your accounts. Make sure you use separate passwords for all your accounts, and make them at least 12 to 14 characters long. Also, use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols to make your passwords more complex.

If you have the option, consider turning on two-factor authentication (2FA) for all accounts. 2FA provides an additional layer of security identity criminals will have to go through to get to your personal data.

Frequently Check Your Bank and Credit Card Accounts

Since most identity criminals’ main target is your finances, you can determine if someone is using your information by running regular credit checks and reviewing bank statements frequently. In case you come across suspicious activity or changes you didn’t make, immediately report it to your bank or credit card company to try to dispute any charges and prevent further damage.

Set Up a Fraud Alert

Placing a fraud alert on your credit is a great way to confirm if your data has been compromised. Once you enable these alerts, creditors will be notified to take extra identity verification steps before extending credit in your name. This allows you to:

  1. Check for suspicious activity by looking at the additional copies of your credit report
  2. Ensure new or recent requests undergo scrutiny

Fraud alerts can easily be placed with any of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion), and these alerts usually last for a year, but you can also extend them if you want to.

Use an Identity Protection Service

Stolen information often ends up on the dark web, where identity thieves, scammers, and hackers purchase it to commit even more crimes. Despite the LifeLock breach, using an identity theft protection service reduces the risk of your identity being stolen in the first place, which still makes this the most efficient way to keep your identity protected online and offline.

If you’re looking for an identity monitoring and protection service that’s both safe and affordable, consider FreeKick. This platform is provided by Austin Capital Bank, and it offers features like dark web monitoring, Social Security number (SSN) monitoring, and credit profile monitoring. It also provides up to $1 million in identity theft insurance to help you recover from financial losses in case you become a target of identity theft.

FreeKick—Comprehensive Identity Protection for Your Whole Family

FreeKick is a deposit account that offers identity theft monitoring and protection for your whole family, covering up to two parents and six children aged 0 to 25. The platform also provides a parent-sponsored credit building service for children and young adults between the ages of 13 and 25 to help them establish a solid financial foundation.

Identity Protection Services

The most frequent targets of identity theft are children. In fact, alarming statistics reveal a child’s identity is stolen every 30 seconds

To minimize the risks of this crime, FreeKick offers comprehensive security features to both safeguard your information and protect your child from identity theft. When you sign up for FreeKick, you’ll get access to a suite of identity monitoring and protection features:

Services for Adult Children and ParentsServices for Minor Children
Credit profile monitoring
SSN monitoring
Dark web monitoring for personal information
Up to $1 million identity theft insurance
Full-service white-glove concierge credit restoration
Lost wallet protection
Court records monitoring
Change of address monitoring
Non-credit (Payday) loan monitoring
Free FICO® Score monthly
FICO® Score factors
Experian credit report monthly
Credit profile monitoring
SSN monitoring
Dark web monitoring for children’s personal information
Up to $1 million identity theft insurance
Full-service white-glove concierge credit restoration
Sex offender monitoring—based on sponsor parent’s address

Parent-Sponsored Credit Building and Credit Profile Monitoring

Besides offering identity protection, FreeKick has made it possible for children to start building credit with the help of their parents. The product allows you to help your child establish a strong credit score starting as early as the age of 13. When your child becomes an adult, they’ll have two advantages:

  1. Secure identity
  2. Strong credit profile

On top of this, if your child establishes a good credit score early, they can save more than $200,000 over their lifetime. To start the credit building process, you need to:

  1. Create a FreeKick Account—Visit FreeKick.bank, register your account, and select a plan that best fits your needs and budget
  2. Set It and Forget It—Once the account is activated, FreeKick automatically starts building your child’s credit over the next 12 months
  3. Keep Growing—When the 12-month period elapses, you can either close the account and get a 100% refund of your initial deposit, or renew it to keep building your child’s credit

FreeKick Pricing

FreeKick offers plans that suit all families’ needs, and the deposits are FDIC-insured up to $250,000. Find more details in the table below:

FDIC-Insured DepositAnnual Fee
$3,000$0 (Free)
No deposit$149

Ensure your family’s identity is protected and help your child establish a good credit score—sign up for FreeKick today.