Thinking of saving all your important documents and private information in your mailbox? Think again! With the increasing dependence on new technology, there is a subsequent rise in cyber crimes. Over two million stolen passwords used on some of the most popular sites like Yahoo, Google, Facebook and others have been circulated online. According to experts the details regarding usernames and passwords have been uploaded by a criminal gang.
The data is said to be gathered from infected computers with malicious software, which logged key presses. Out-dated information can be dangerous and the details can cause severe damage. Around 35 percent of people use the same password on different sites, which is absolutely not to be practiced.
The site holding the passwords was first noticed by security firm Trust wave’s researchers. The findings were collected from a large chunk of computers infected with virus, all around the world. A botnet is controlled by criminals through malicious software which is installed into the computer without the user’s knowledge. The criminal gangs use botnets to collect huge amounts of personal data that can be sold or held for a ransom. In this case, it is the log-in information for social networking sites.
The Russian site caught hold of 318,121 username and password combinations for different social networking sites, with entries in the database. Odnoklassniki and VKontakte, Russian language sites also featured on the entry. The mentioned sites have been notified about the database.
Facebook confirmed that the security risk was being caused by infected user machines and not due to the negligence of the site itself. User’s computers have been attacked by malware and the information is extracted from their web browsers, directly. You can protect your Facebook account by following these steps:
- Activate Login approvals and notification in the security settings.
- You will be notified when anyone tries to access your Facebook account from an unrecognized browser.
- New logins will require a unique pass code which will be sent to your mobile phone.
- All the users found in the database are being put through a password reset procedure.
How To Keep Your Account Safe
- A malicious hacker can hack all your accounts once he gets hold of your password. This will cause serious harm to your privacy and finances. Try to use different passwords for your banking account or social networking sites. This will prevent you from great damage caused by hacking.
- Whenever you forget your password and click the reset button, an email is automatically generated to your account. This is especially dangerous as the banking sites and networking sites will send new passwords to your email id. This gives easy access for hacker into your banking sites. It is a better choice to reset the password and delete the email.
- Try to strengthen your passwords and don’t make it easy to guess. Make them long, at least 8 characters. Use number and alphabets all together. Try to vary it as much as possible. ‘C@TbIbO!43’ is a better choice than ‘catbibo43’
- Avoid words from dictionaries! There are a number of programs that can crack passwords by scanning through databases.
- Avoid using names, birthdays and other easy to guess words. Try to complicate your password as much as you can.
- Another important suggestion is to complicate the answer to your security question. The question maybe your pet’s name, your first school or any other, which can be easily found out. It is better to add numbers and symbols, like your password. For Example: ‘St Ann’s High School’ can be written as ‘sT @nN’$ hIGh $ChOoL!!.’
- Keep changing your passwords regularly, your account information may already be circulating. Along with strong passwords ensure that your computer runs on the latest software. The older versions of the software are risky to use, as hackers keep finding new ways to get their work done.