Cybercrime is ever popular. If you haven’t noticed, just go see the latest news stories and you will realize that it is more prevalent that we might think. Some of the hacks are large scale—stealing from GM or Target, which affects millions of customers. Other hacks are seemingly small—a compromised password that can easily change. But the 2012 LinkedIn data loss that is now reportedly being sold reminds us that some of the smaller hacks might be bigger annoyances that we might think.
When a Password is Hacked
First of all, no hacker should be able to guess your password. Leave behind the easy-to-remember and easy-to-guess 1234 or birthdate or name choice. Passwords should be complicated enough that a random generator or anyone who has seen your Facebook profile can’t figure it out. Once you have a good, solid password, make sure you avoid using it for every login you have. If you are logging into your bank account and a free gaming website with the same password, then do not be surprised if sometime or somewhere something gets stolen.
So now you have a complicated password and a different one for everyone website. You are doing great. Then your email provider gets hacked and your password is stolen. Luckily, in most of the United States, companies have to report security data breaches. So your email provider will immediately contact you and tell you to reset your password. Or maybe they’ll just do it for you and let you know to change it. With the LinkedIn data breach, just to be safe, all passwords for accounts created before 2012 are being automatically reset. It many cases, you will have been able to reset your password before any hacker could actually use it. So when a password gets hacked, sometimes everything can be secured by acting quickly to reset your password.
When an Email Address List is Hacked
Another part of the LinkedIn security breach included a list of user email addresses. In a lot of people’s cases, you can find an email address by looking at a business card or a social media site or even an organization’s website. So a hacked email list seems to lack the drama and security risk of a password. Well a password can be changed in a minute. If a list of email addresses is taken over by spammers, the situation can easily become a large annoyance because no one changes their email address very often. That means spammers have a large list of potential victims. Your email address can easily get bombarded daily with spam or even compromising links or the like.
Or with the LinkedIn data loss, millions of email address of professionals were taken. Hackers can create almost identical email addresses and send out emails with compromising links or files hoping that someone will not notice the difference between firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. So maybe 117 million passwords can be fixed within a few days. But the effects of an email list create a much bigger annoyance to work through.
The best thing to do in every situation is to be smart. Double check sender information and contents. Do not click on a link or download a file that comes to your email unexpectedly or without reason. Hopefully the smarter we grow, the better we can get over the little hacks and not worry about being affected by anything bigger.
Source: Fox News