Your Online Account May Have Been Breached? Don’t Just Sit There. Do Something.
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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 7:43amGrey 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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New York Watch Auctions Record Uptick in Sales in the Face of Market Slowdown
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Luxury watch collectors showed ongoing strong demand for Patek Philippe, growing interest in modern watches and a preference for larger case sizes and leather straps at the June watch sales in New York, according to an analysis of the major auctions.

Independent and neo-vintage categories, meanwhile, experienced declines in total sales and average prices, said the report from  EveryWatch, a global online platform for watch information. Overall, the New York auctions achieved total sales of US$52.27 million, a 9.87% increase from the previous year, on the sale of 470 lots, reflecting a 37% increase in volume. Unsold rates ticked down a few points to 5.31%, according to the platform’s analysis.

EveryWatch gathered data from official auction results for sales held in New York from June 5 to 10 at Christie’s, Phillips, and Sotheby’s. Limited to watch sales exclusively, each auction’s data was reviewed and compiled for several categories, including total lots, sales and sold rates, highest prices achieved, performance against estimates, sales trends in case materials and sizes as well as dial colors, and more. The resulting analysis provides a detailed overview of market trends and performance.

The Charles Frodsham Pocket watch sold at Phillips for $433,400.

“We still see a strong thirst for rare, interesting, and exceptional watches, modern and vintage alike, despite a little slow down in the market overall,” says Paul Altieri, founder and CEO of the California-based pre-owned online watch dealer BobsWatches.com, in an email. “The results show that there is still a lot of money floating around out there in the economy looking for quality assets.”

Patek Philippe came out on top with more than US$17.68 million on the sale of 122 lots. It also claimed the top lot: Sylvester Stallone’s Patek Philippe GrandMaster Chime 6300G-010, still in the sealed factory packaging, which sold at Sotheby’s for US$5.4 million, much to the dismay of the brand’s president, Thierry Stern . The London-based industry news website WatchPro estimates the flip made the actor as much as US$2 million in just a few years.

At Christie’s, the top lot was a Richard Mille Limited Edition RM56-02 AO Tourbillon Sapphire
Richard Mille

“As we have seen before and again in the recent Sotheby’s sale, provenance can really drive prices higher than market value with regards to the Sylvester Stallone Panerai watches and his standard Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1a offered,” Altieri says.

Patek Philippe claimed half of the top 10 lots, while Rolex and Richard Mille claimed two each, and Philippe Dufour claimed the No. 3 slot with a 1999 Duality, which sold at Phillips for about US$2.1 million.

“In-line with EveryWatch’s observation of the market’s strong preference for strap watches, the top lot of our auction was a Philippe Dufour Duality,” says Paul Boutros, Phillips’ deputy chairman and head of watches, Americas, in an email. “The only known example with two dials and hand sets, and presented on a leather strap, it achieved a result of over US$2 million—well above its high estimate of US$1.6 million.”

In all, four watches surpassed the US$1 million mark, down from seven in 2023. At Christie’s, the top lot was a Richard Mille Limited Edition RM56-02 AO Tourbillon Sapphire, the most expensive watch sold at Christie’s in New York. That sale also saw a Richard Mille Limited Edition RM52-01 CA-FQ Tourbillon Skull Model go for US$1.26 million to an online buyer.

Rolex expert Altieri was surprised one of the brand’s timepieces did not crack the US$1 million threshold but notes that a rare Rolex Daytona 6239 in yellow gold with a “Paul Newman John Player Special” dial came close at US$952,500 in the Phillips sale.

The Crown did rank second in terms of brand clout, achieving sales of US$8.95 million with 110 lots. However, both Patek Philippe and Rolex experienced a sales decline by 8.55% and 2.46%, respectively. The independent brand Richard Mille, with US$6.71 million in sales, marked a 912% increase from the previous year with 15 lots, up from 5 lots in 2023.

The results underscored recent reports of prices falling on the secondary market for specific coveted models from Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet. The summary points out that five top models produced high sales but with a fall in average prices.

The Rolex Daytona topped the list with 42 appearances, averaging US$132,053, a 41% average price decrease. Patek Philippe’s Nautilus, with two of the top five watches, made 26 appearances with an average price of US$111,198, a 26% average price decrease. Patek Philippe’s Perpetual Calendar followed with 23 appearances and a US$231,877 average price, signifying a fall of 43%, and Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak had 22 appearances and an average price of US$105,673, a 10% decrease. The Rolex Day Date is the only watch in the top five that tracks an increase in average price, which at US$72,459 clocked a 92% increase over last year.

In terms of categories, modern watches (2005 and newer) led the market with US$30 million in total sales from 226 lots, representing a 53.54% increase in sales and a 3.78% increase in average sales price over 2023. Vintage watches (pre-1985) logged a modest 6.22% increase in total sales and an 89.89% increase in total lots to 169.

However, the average price was down across vintage, independent, and neo-vintage (1990-2005) watches. Independent brands saw sales fall 24.10% to US$8.47 million and average prices falling 42.17%, while neo-vintage watches experienced the largest decline in sales and lots, with total sales falling 44.7% to US$8.25 million, and average sales price falling 35.73% to US$111,000.

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