Hackers Steal 150 Million Passwords

Wednesday, December 18, 2013, 2:42 PM

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Adobe recently announced that they were targeted and hacked. The sophisticated hackers leaked nearly 150 million passwords and usernames and shared all the information on public websites. The classified information spread and affected many social media profiles and other accounts; several pages and inboxes were filled with advertisements and spam.

It is important to different passwords for different accounts. If they are too similar, the chances of getting hacked are much higher. Practiced hackers use programs to speedily check all possible variations of a password within seconds. If you or company has even one password that is leaked onto the internet, hacker will most likely have free reign on all of your accounts. Unless you have Gmail (which will notify an individual of suspicious activity), you will have a lot of clean up to do. 

After the Adobe breach, Trustwave, a security company, analyzed each compromised password. Through their research they found that only 5 percent of all the passwords were “excellent” and 17 percent registered as “good.” The remaining 75 percent of the passwords were moderate or worse.

Consider these few tips to make sure that your passwords are strong:

  1. A longer password means a more secure password. The minimum length is typically eight characters but, if you can, create an even longer one. 
  2. By using letters, cases, numbers, and symbols combined, the chances of your account getting hacked becomes exponentially fewer. For example, “My!P4SsW0Rd-66” is stronger than “mypassword66.”
  3. When creating a password, do not use words that can be found in a dictionary One popular program that hackers use to crack passwords is by searching through files of dictionary words. These types of programs are coded to read and interpret words with symbols and numbers. Acronyms have proven to be strong passwords.
  4. Do not use the names of close friends, family, company, animals, or dogs. All of this information can be found on social media sites and represents an easy guess for hackers.
  5. Change passwords regularly. Often times a company’s or individual’s password is already floating around the internet without them knowing. In order to prevent hackers from accessing and using those passwords, change them regularly. That simple step will make roaming passwords obsolete. 

Large (or small) companies can be transient and you don’t always know who has access to passwords. Solidify your company’s security by applying the tips mentioned above.


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