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More Passwords Stolen—This Time From Yahoo

site login boxA list of 450,000 usernames and passwords from Yahoo's "Contributor Network" has been posted on the Internet. The passwords were not encrypted. Yahoo has confirmed that usernames and passwords were compromised. An analysis of the data by a security site determined that the list also contains username and passwords for other online services.

What should you do? Change your Yahoo password, even if you haven't used their "Contributor Network." In addition, change your password on other online services such as Google or Facebook. If you use the same passwords on other sites, change them too.

This theft, along with the recent password thefts at LinkedIn, eHarmony and Last.fm, emphasizes how important it is to unique passwords for each login and regularly change those passwords.

Good password security practices include:

  • Change your passwords frequently.
  • Use a unique password for each site that requires you to login.
  • Passwords should contain a combination of numbers, uppercase letters, lowercase letters, symbols, and spaces. But not all sites will accept symbols in passwords.
  • Longer passwords are better than shorter passwords.
  • Check the strength of your passwords, by using a checker such as How Secure is My Password?.
  • Use a password generator. They are available as browser plug-ins, websites, and standalone programs and apps.

For more information

Yahoo's password leak: What you need to know (FAQ) from CNET

How to create a strong password (and remember it) from Consumer Reports provides tips on creating passwords

The guide to password security (and why you should care) from CNET provides more tips on creating and managing your passwords.