“Russian hackers steal over a billion passwords”


Recently in the news we heard about a group of Russian hackers who managed to steal 1.2 billion usernames and passwords. While we still don’t know what the hackers were planning to do with these passwords, there is one thing we can safely assume, it won’t be good.

What can we do?
Change your passwords right away. We should not give them time to use any of the information they have taken. Keep in mind there are some important guidelines to maintaining your security. Here are some tips on how to do so:

1)      Do not use old passwords. If you have used the password online in the past, chances are they already have it. Come up with a completely new password.

2)      Do not use common knowledge passwords. Using your son’s name and his birth date may sound like a great idea but it’s not. It’s commonly used and hackers may already have that information. Also avoid passwords that use your address or phone number.

3)      Add special characters to your password. Using an exclamation mark (!) or an asterisk (*) will make your password more difficult to hack or steal. You may also consider changing letters for numbers or special characters. For example; “P4$$w0Rd” would be a lot more secure than just “password”.

4)      Keep your new passwords in a safe place. Everyone’s biggest complaint about passwords is being able to keep track of them. Write your passwords down on a notepad and keep it hidden or locked away. You can also create an unshared (or offline) document on your phone. For example Notes on the iPhone or S Memo on Samsung phones. You can also try a password app on your phone. I recommend sticking with off-line apps that don’t talk to the internet or backup online. Try aWallet Password Manager for Droid phones.

Still have questions or need help? Feel free to let me know at service@gocomputerace.com. I also welcome any feedback about this blog.

Howard DeAlvarado owns Computer Ace, a Phoenix based computer repair and services company. He has over 18 years of computer service expertise and is MS & A+ certified. Follow on Google + as well as Twitter.