There was a mad dash to switch up passwords as LinkedIn confirmed on June 6 that “some passwords were compromised” in a “major security breach.” PC World reported that a file with a whopping 6.5 million passwords popped up on a Russian online forum. As of the article’s publication, 200,000 of those passwords had been cracked.
According to a recent Mashable study, polling more than 700 active internet users between the ages of 26 and 54, people over the age of 55 (77%) and between 18-24 (62%) share a concern that their personal information could be compromised online. However, NPR told us on Monday that Baby Boomers tend to use stronger passwords than their kids, with people between the ages of 45-55 having the strongest passwords.
Many people use the same password for all online accounts, including banking and bill pay. What are some of the most used passwords? Words like “link”, “work”, “god” and even “12345” top the list.
But perhaps the fact that stolen social-network passwords don’t fetch as much money for criminals as banking passwords can make us feel a little better about large-scale security breaches like the one LinkedIn experienced. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that while banking passwords can be worth up to $850 each, social-network passwords only bring in $1. On the other hand, hackers could still score if they obtain login information for people who use this same information for multiple accounts.
An Illinois woman filed a $5 million lawsuit against LinkedIn Corp just two weeks after the security breach was confirmed. The woman claims LinkedIn broke its promise to its customers by “not having better security in place.”
Check out the full NPR story, “Prevent Your Password From Becoming Easy Pickings (Or PyPfbEp),” for helpful suggestions for randomizing your password to defeat potential attackers.