Usernames and Passwords Stolen By Russian Hackers


By Michelle Madaras
By Loreto Cruz III

WSIL -- A security firm out of Milwaukee says more than one billion usernames and passwords have been stolen by a Russian crime gang.

Hold Security says it's uncovered a Russian cyber gang that appears to have compiled a list of more than 1.2 billion usernames and passwords.

Alex Holden, founder of Hold Security, says every computer user should be cautious.

"Thankfully, this particular cyber gang is mostly interested in making money off spam. However, if it gets into other hands on this black market, these people can use these credentials to get into any account that has been compromised," say Holden.

In our technology driven world, it's becoming a more frequent and damaging reality. Local IT specialist James Mayer says there are a few easy ways people can protect themselves.

"Definitely the number one recommended thing is don't have the same username and password for Facebook that you would have for your online banking," says Mayer.

If hackers get your login information for one site, they can use it on any other site where you've registered with the same information.

But Mayer says people shouldn't just stop there.

"Safeguard yourself, take five minutes and change your username and password," he says.

Regularly changing your login can be a quick fix, so if hackers do get your information it won't work for long. You should also avoid easy passwords.

He says, "You want to try and make it so complicated that you can barely remember it, and if you get to that point, then you've got a good password."

Mayer says large scale hacks like these are only going to become more common.

"We're always playing defense, so therefore you're going to hear more events like this happening simply because the hackers are basically going to be one step ahead at finding our vulnerabilities," he explains.

He says users better get used to it because in age of technology privacy isn't an option.

"If you want an end all solution, unplug the cable," he says.
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