The New York Times reports today that 1.2 billion usernames and passwords were grabbed by Russian hackers using a botnet that exploited SQL injections to gain access to the data. Check out the article here. In truth, some of those were duplicates, so it's more like half a billion, but hey... what's half a billion between friends?
In this day and age, the Internet has become a vast playground for hackers who stand to gain financially or perhaps just gain notoriety. Their victims are you and me because we don't think like them. We like to think our neighbors are good folks who care about us just like we care about them. Sure we have finally gotten to where we lock our windows and doors, but not everyone has an alarm system these days. And why would we? Here in the good ole USA, life is pretty good. But on the Internet, our neighbors are in Nigeria, Ukraine, Russia and a thousand other places right next door that don't have the lifestyle we have.
So you absolutely must be wary, on your toes and technically competent. And if you're not particularly technically competent, you need to rely on those who are. What was best-practice two years ago could today be risky or even disasterous for you and your bank account. The horror stories abound. Thousands of dollars are stolen from regular folks, small businesses and big companies every day.
So what should you do? Start by beefing up your passwords. Make sure you mix capital letters, small letters, numbers and make them nice and long. A good thing to do is come up with a phrase you know and take off on that. For example, a star wars fan might think of, "Use the Force Luke" so a password could be UtfL%77Vdad since the film was released in 1977 and the V stands for Vader who turned out to be Luke's Dad... pretty obscure, but you get the idea.
Next, you should have at least three passwords, maybe more - one for really secure things like your bank, one for pretty secure things like places where you enter credit cards and a third for not so secure things that aren't all that important. By the way, your email box is pretty darn important since if it's hacked, it can be monitored to access other things that are more important. Finally, you need to be prepared to change those passwords if they are compromised, which can easily happen. Nearly every major retailer has been compromised lately and when that happens, it's time to bite the bullet and change up your credentials.
Where web sites are concerned, you need to consult with your technical experts. Be sure your platforms are up to date with the latest updates and keep checking for new ones. If you have a custom site, ask for a regular security review to be sure that what were best practices haven't become vulnerable to the latest exploits. The web is a constantly changing landscape and you need to stay on top of it.
If you have any questions about his or other on-line issues, give us a call at 877 397-7605 or contact us for more information... and stay safe out there!!
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