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1.2 Billion Passwords Stolen! What Should You Do?

Many of us have seen the headlines reporting that a Russian crime ring has stolen user names, passwords and email addresses. The 1.2 billion passwords and possibly other personal information was stolen from over 420,000 websites worldwide. The hackers have been targeting every website they could from large corporations to very small website. It appears that the stolen data has been used primarily to send spam on social networks.

For this reported hack, as a precaution, you should change your passwords on any site that contain personal information such as financial, health, credit cards, etc. A tip: Please note that the websites of your financial institutions such as BayPort are some of the most secure sites. Just make sure you are taking advantage of the security features they provide.

What should you do to protect yourself online?

Data breaches or thefts are occurring on the Internet every day. Yet only the largest typically make the news. With that in mind, we have to protect our personal information ourselves and not rely on others. Protecting your personal information is an ongoing task. Here are some tips to get you started.

Use strong passwords and change them regularly. Strong passwords contain a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Don’t use words that can be found in a dictionary. Don’t mix in numbers and symbols, those types of passwords are still easily defeated.

Do not use the same password on multiple sites. This can makes it simple for hackers to access accounts on other sites. If you’ve used the same password on multiple sites, change all of them.

Take advantage of additional security features. Many sites are using or are implementing two-factor authentication where in addition you enter a one-time passcode sent to you by text or email.

Too many passwords? Use a password manager, preferably one that doesn’t reside or store data online. Some online password managers have been hacked too.

Check out the following resources for additional tips:

The guide to password security (and why you should care)

Gen Y Report: How to Build Decent Passwords

Remar’s Report: Heartbleed Won’t Be the Last! Tips for Staying Safe Online

Remar's Report: Are You Protecting Your Personal Financial Information

GetReal Report: Enhancing Your Computer and Online Privacy