The New York Times reported that a Russian crime ring has stolen 4.5 billion Internet credentials. These include 1.2 billion username and password combinations and more than 500 million email addresses. To make this all more complex, people tend to use the same password on multiple sites, magnifying the threat.
It is critical that people protect their information by changing their passwords on sites that have key information such as email accounts, bank and credit card accounts and other sensitive sites. Unfortunately many do not change passwords frequently enough, even after a breach such as this and the recent HeartBleed bug.
Mike Snider of USA Today recently wrote Massive security breach: Time to change your password practices.He recommends the following tips for setting new passwords:
- Mix it up – Create passwords that are 10 characters or longer and include uppercase letters, lowercase letters, symbols and numbers, says Adam Tyler, chief innovation officer for identity protection firmCSID.
- Be more creative – Use a unique password for each account, and vary the e-mail addresses you use for accounts.
- Split social media and money – Do not use the same password for credit cards and bank accounts that you use for social media or websites.