Posted passwords should cause everyone to be concerned about their security
This has not been one of the better weeks for password security. While the reports we are seeing are not the result of less than secure passwords by individuals, it should cause everyone to take a look at what they are doing. The most recent actions are the result of hackers who have been able to penetrate some very large online companies which one would think are secure from hackers getting in to steal information. There is nothing you as an individual can do in a situation like this to stop the actions which are happening. This is the responsibility of the online companies.
These are some big online companies which have been hit and the information is still being revealed as they determine the extend of the hacking activities. Some of the biggest were hit today as LinkedIn and eHarmony are reporting they were breached with people getting 6.5 and 1.5 million passwords which were grabbed and possibly emails addresses. The passwords were encrypted, but it may only be a matter of time before they are able to crack them. What’s worse is the emails which potentially were taken as part of the hacking activities. There are numerous reports of Spam and phishing campaigns where others try and convince you to click on a link to update your password information. You never want to respond directly to an email like that. Log on to your account directly and not by clicking on a link in an email. You never know where you are going when you do that. We have even seen an evolving report where Last.fm, the online stream site has been hacked and they are trying to determine the extend of the damage.
Passwords are your final lock on your account and these recent breaches should have gotten your attention. Do not use the same password across multiple accounts. If you did that for LInkedIn and Last.fm, they can now gain access to both accounts, not just one. The locks you use must be different for each account or you are just giving them a master key that will unlock all of your accounts. That is very important that you do not duplicate passwords across online accounts as you are just asking for trouble if you do.
We have talked about your password protection and strategies my making them longer and more complex. Yes, that makes it much harder to remember, but do you want to expose all your information because they guessed an easy password? Your passwords are the lock to protect your information. Small and weak locks are easy to break.
With this information in the news, now is the time to rethink your password strategies to protect yourself. It is important that you understand things which you need to be doing. Changing your password more than one every few years is an important step. Having different passwords for each logon is another.
This is not the last time we will hear of hackers breaking into servers and stealing the personal information of those who have accounts. The best thing you can do is have a secure password and pay attention to what is going on in the world. As soon as I heard that hackers had taken encrypted password information from LinkedIn, I immediately changed my password. If you have a LinkedIn account and have not changed your password, STOP reading this and log on to your LinkedIn account and change your password. It is critical that you do so. This applies to any online account you have where there is a report of it being hacked and personal information compromised. You have to watch out for yourself as it could take days before they get around to reminding people to update their passwords because of a breach of security.
Having a lot of different passwords makes it very difficult to maintain and writing them down is just as bad as giving them to hackers. We have used a tool called RoboForm which is one of several very good tools to keep your passwords secure and where you do not have to remember them all. If you have a lot of online accounts, this is probably worth considering.