Are you guilty of one of the worst bad technology habits ? Do you use the same password and login name for a large number of online sites? If so, you could be putting yourself at considerable risk. Clever hackers just might crack your password. When they do, what’s to stop them from using that password to access all of your favorite online sites – including, possibly, your online bank – while pretending to be you?
The technology Web site ars technica recently featured this danger in its story on a serious password breach at LivingSocial.com. This website, which offers users daily deals on everything from dinning to hotel stays, was recently hacked. Cyber crooks discovered the passwords of as many as 50 million of LivingSocial’s users. This breach also left users’ e-mail addresses and names exposed.
After the breach, Tim O’Shaughnessy, chief executive officer of LivingSocial.com, advised the site’s users change the passwords they use to gain access to the deals site. He also recommended that users change any passwords that they use to access other sites that are the same or similar to what they use to log into LivingSocial. This, as ars technica reports, is a bit of an understatement. If you use a similar password to log onto Netflix, LivingSocial.com and your online bank, stop reading this article and immediately change these passwords. And do yourself a favor — do not ever reuse a password for one site anywhere else.
It’s bad enough if a hacker nabs your password at one site. But what happens if you use this same password at other sites? What happens if you use this same password at your online bank or credit union? You will be in a world of hurt as this hacker easily uses your universal password to break into dozens of your favorite or most sensitive online sites. Yes, it’s not much fun trying to recall the dozens of passwords you will need as you make your way around the Internet. Even so, make the effort. It’s less fun to find out that a cyber criminal has utilized your password to empty your online bank account.