Do you have a Yahoo, Hotmail or Gmail email account?
If so, your email address and password could be in the hands of Russian hackers. They’re sharing this information with others – either for a price or “street cred” on social media.
Earlier this month, a security firm in Wisconsin convinced a Russian hacker to give them a database containing 272 million email addresses and passwords.
It appears the breach mainly targeted Russian users, but because nearly one-third of the email addresses were Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo accounts, American users could also be affected.
Interestingly, these compromised emails and passwords didn’t come from hackers breaking into Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo databases.
Rather, the information was stolen from smaller, less secure websites where people use their email address and passwords to log in.
Are You A Victim?
Unfortunately, there’s no way for you to know whether your email address or password appears in the latest database, according to Alex Holden, founder of Hold Security, the Wisconsin firm that acquired the information.
But you can check to see if your login credentials may have been breached on other websites, including Adobe, Comcast, Snapchat, Domino’s Pizza, and others.
Simply go to www.haveibeenpwned.com and type in your email address. (Yes, that’s a P instead of an O in the web address. Pwned is gamer slang for “owned.”)
- Immediately change your password on your Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo accounts. Even if you don’t believe they’ve been breached.
- NEVER, ever use the same password for more than one website.
In today’s increasingly vulnerable online world, the security of your personal information and identity is more important than convenience. Using the same passwords across multiple websites gives criminals unfettered access to everything they need to steal your identity and your money. It can take YEARS to clean up the damage. But only takes SECONDS to prevent it.
- Use a secure online service to keep track of all your passwords.
Creating unique passwords for each website is easy. Remembering them – not so much.
But services like LastPass (www.lastpass.com) and Roboform (www.roboform.com) allow you to store all your login information in one easy-to-use, secure location accessible from all your computers, smartphones, and tablets.
These services can also generate impossible-to-crack passwords for you.