On May 21st, 2014, eBay asked 145 million of its users to change their passwords after a cyber attack compromised customer data. And as recently as December 2013, popular online services like Facebook, Gmail, Google+, YouTube, Yahoo, Twitter and LinkedIn were also hacked [source]. CNN Money reported that the passwords weren’t actually leaked by those services but harvested from individual computers infected by a malicious keylogging virus. Once a user entered his or her username and password, those credentials were then sent to proxy servers controlled by hackers.
Studies of the stolen password databases have shown that a majority of user passwords are too basic, with “123456” topping the list. “123456789” came in second while over half of the hacked passwords used a single character type like all numbers or all upper-case letters.
So what can you do to keep your personal and business accounts safe from password hacks? ROSE IT Services Limited recommends the following five tips:
1) Change your passwords. If you use the same password for multiple websites and services, you are precisely the user that cyber-criminals love to target. To ensure that you create strong and unique passwords, add upper and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols to a string of characters eg. use “P@ssw0rd#33” instead of “password33″. Additionally, the longer the password, the stronger it is, ensure that your password is at least eight characters long and not easy to guess.