93,000 Websites Compromised: A lesson in using secure passwords

Here's the latest news in online hacking!

Researchers revealed in early December that hackers had compromised approximately two million accounts across 93,000 websites including Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Yahoo! and Twitter. This breach in data (and confidentiality) was a result of keylogging software maliciously installed on an unknown number of computers around the world. The virus captured login credentials for certain websites over a month and sent the credentials to a server, located in the Netherlands, controlled by the hackers.

Also, Adobe reported that 150 million accounts had been compromised. Attacks like this are becoming more and more frequent and are hitting closer to home than they used to. Although those accounts compromised were predominantly in the Netherlands, attacks like these are still a good lesson in using strong passwords and surfing safely on the Internet.

To remain secure when you are surfing, banking, shopping or socializing on the Internet, it's important to do what you can to be safe, secure and hard to hack.

Here are a few things to do and to keep in mind when creating online accounts:

  • Create secure passwords!!!
    • The hacking scheme showed that most people still do not use complex, hard to guess passwords.
    • You should NEVER use only words or only numbers such as november or 123456.
    • Mix it up with character types (letters, numbers, characters, cases, etc). For example, if you want to use your dog's name and your birthday ... let's say your dog's name is Bear and your birthday is January 12. Instead of Bear0112 .... mix it up. Use 01Bear12, 01b3@r12, b3@r0112 or j@n12b3@r. However, you really should not use personal information such as your full name, pets name, spouse's name, etc. for passwords.
    • Use a passphrase - not a single word passphrase, but a phrase. Use a line from your favorite movie or your favorite quote. For example, "I've lost my marbles!" Turn it into ... ilmm@rbl3s! or iveLo$tmYm@rbl3s! or Jack Nicholson's quote "You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!" and convert it to Ywtt?Ychtt!.
  • Add extra layers of security on social media sites
    • Be careful of who you accepted connections and friendships from
    • Don't give any personal information to people you don't know personally
    • Be wary of the groups you join and games you play on social media websites
  • Make sure you have the newest version of your preferred anti-virus software
  • Use a password management tool to keep your important passwords strong and safe
  • And we cannot stress enough ... CREATE SECURE PASSWORDS!