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1.2 Billion Passwords Stolen! How to Stay Secure

Over a billion Internet passwords have been stolen by Russian hackers. It's a record-breaking data breach that was discovered yesterday by a security firm that said username and password combinations, as well as over 500 million email addresses, have been obtained. So, have you been hacked? It's safe to assume that yes, your information was stolen. In this episode of The Sync Up, we'll help you craft the perfect password to protect your online security.

What are the hackers after?

You probably don't need to worry about your bank account. They'll most likely sell your email address to spam companies, according to Hold Security, the firm that discovered the hacking.

Should I change my password?

Yes. Consider your email and social media accounts first. Spammers will use your email credentials to send fake emails to family and friends asking for money or advertising bogus products.

OK, now what?

  • Consider using a password manager — Apps like Last Pass and 1Password create and manage a supersafe randomized string of numbers and letters. It's security-expert-approved but not for everyone. Read on for tips on creating your own password.
  • Make a new password. — Choose something that's a full sentence. Make it something nonsensical, and add numbers where there are vowels. Something like, "Purple spaghetti loves to jump in the lake" can turn into "Purpl3sp4gh3ttiluvs2jumpin2th3l4k3."
  • Password don'ts — Don't reuse passwords; don't make it short; and don't use your birthday.
  • Create false answers for security questions. — Those hackers will NEVER be able to guess that your childhood nickname was "oil."
  • Turn on 2-factor authentication whenever possible. — Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo all have this feature! These companies will send you a text with a special code when someone logs into your account from a weird location.

Want to take your online security to the next level? Heed some advanced tips from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden or easy-but-effective advice from supersleuth Veronica Mars!

Front Page Image Source: Shutterstock

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