5 Million Passwords Leaked - 2014-09-10
It seems like almost everyday a new corporate hacking, password leaking and data loss takes place in the news. Today 5 Million Gmail passwords have been published on a Russian Bitcoin Forum. Earlier in the week Home Depot announced potentially millions of retail customers may be affected by a data breach. And the infamous Celebrity Hacking of SmartPhones is a clear reminder that any of us can be targeted.
What the heck is going on?The core issue is the outdated method of using usernames and passwords. Is it time to kill the password? Your email address, bank account, social media, credit card numbers, home address, and online bills are protected by as little as 6 characters, maybe a few more if you are a little bit more cautious. Most of us reuse this same password over and over. No matter how complex, no matter how unique - passwords simply can't protect us anymore.
The password comes from a time when our computers were not connected on a Global scale. So how do our passwords fail us? They can be guessed, pulled from online password dumps, cracked using sophisticated software using brute force methods, stolen with keyloggers, and even reset by Customer Support and IT Departments.
So what's the risk to me?Everything. Your personal data, financial data, personal photos, corporate information - your complete digital identity.
What will I have to do?You can always start by changing your password. This is a quick fix - and may save you in the short term, especially if your password is shared password for multiple sites.
Implementing Two Factor Authentication can also help. You will start seeing this technology pushed and implemented more and more. It is already available on most major banking websites, social media sites, online backups and file sharing, communication devices, and even most email and remote access. Two Factor Authentication works along side your standard username and password, but also incorporates a physical device - like your mobile phone or a random code generator. There is a list available at http://twofactorauth.org of sites you can implement this technology on and who is working on it.
Some of the Benson & Associates staff also use Password Software to help generate and remember passwords. KeePass is Open Source and stores randomly generated passwords locally and encrypted on your local Mac, Windows, or Linux PC. Each password is random, complex and different, which helps if a specific site has a breach.
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