Jul 16 2012

Password Spill: Everybody's Getting Hacked

With three recent high-profile password hacks happening in a short time span, it’s clear that no website is safe.

Ever since Sandra Bullock hipped us all to the dangers of life on the Internet, with her 1995 film The Net — a film in which Bullock plays a software analyst — we’ve known that there are nasty people on the web ready to hack and steal our identities.

But these days, it seems like more websites are springing user credential leaks. LinkedIn, the social network for professionals, was the victim of a lethal password hack last month, which saw the social network spill more than 6.5 million user credentials.

And this month, three more notable sites were hit in a similar fashion.

On July 12, Yahoo confirmed that its database had been hacked, resulting in the release of more than 400,000 user names and passwords, including logins from non-Yahoo accounts like Gmail and Hotmail, according to reports. The good news is that the text file of user credentials appeared to be old. The bad news is that a lot of people used good ol’ “password” to secure their accounts. Will we ever learn?

That same day, Phandroid’s AndroidForums.com reported that it had been hacked, resulting in the compromise of 1 million users. Phandroid’s team acted swiftly to remedy the situation, alerting its community and quickly assigning randomized and new passwords to admin accounts, according to an official post on the message board.

And Billabong, an Australian surfwear retailer was hit by hackers, resulting in the leak of more than 21,000 user names and passwords, according to SC Magazine.

IT professionals, this means war! Companies big and small need to take care to protect and secure user credentials, because any breach of user information can result in a breach of consumer trust.

Consumers, change your passwords. Frequently! Assume that your account credentials could be compromised at any time and switch things up regularly.

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