Commentary: Change Your Passwords

Today on Excelsior Commentary, Dr. Jane LeClair discusses the reported theft of 1.2 billion online passwords and user names by Russian hackers.

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Well those Russian backed hackers in Eastern Europe have done it again…set what appears to be a record for an Internet data heist.

According to news reports, an amazing 1.2 billion….yes billion with a ‘B’…personal data accounts, passwords, and user names have been collected by these well sourced and expert hackers. The discovery of the intrusions was made by security firm ‘Hold Security’ who indicated that the hackers had breached the security of over 400,000 firms worldwide to steal this personal data. As many as 500 million email addresses were stolen as well. The hackers attacked some well know firms, but the majority of the breaches were of small firms that undoubtedly had little or no cyber security in place.

There are several lessons to be learned from this. First of all…despite best efforts to defend against cyber criminals, ‘they’ always seem to find a way to circumvent defenses. No one ever said that cyber criminals weren’t clever. Second, no one is safe from cyber attacks, from the largest big box retailers to the small mom and pop businesses selling arts and crafts online. Next, small businesses need to attain a cost effective, easy to use cyber security program to protect their customer’s data. The final lesson is that you, the consumer, need to protect your online activities by changing your password today. By making sure that it is a strong password and by monitoring your charge accounts for fraudulent activity. And before you buy online think about alternate ways to pay for your purchase and if in fact you really need that merchandise.

Read more by Dr. LeClair on Excelsior Commentary.