Password troubles explode as hacking spreads

05/23/2014 6:46 PM

06/03/2014 10:17 AM

Another day, another urgent call to change millions of email passwords. It’s tempting to wonder: Is any online site truly secure these days?

Or, must we simply learn to live with passwords of OMG##!!changeitagain! or icannotremember??*/#

The depth of the breaches are hard to fathom. Three months ago, eBay’s servers were hacked and 233 million names, email addresses, passwords, phone numbers and home addresses were stolen — the second largest attack of this kind in U.S. history. The company is now urging 145 million of its customers to change their passwords.

The massive hit is reminiscent of another recent security debacle in which 40 million credit card numbers were siphoned out of Target’s servers.

Although there is no evidence that eBay’s internal payment subsidiary PayPal was compromised, the sheer number of users affected makes this even larger than the Target attack.

The eBay hack follows dozens of other cyber attacks, enough to numb online users to the nomenclature of urgent appeal: change your password.

Many Internet users (count some of us guilty) have only one password for all of their online accounts, drastically increasing vulnerability to criminal activity. Maybe we’ll soon have to try a nightly routine of brush teeth, floss, change password.

The eBay mess is yet another reminder to use unique passwords for all online subscriptions and accounts. While extra security measures always fall into place after crises, companies seem helpless to preempt hacker ingenuity. Expect more attacks and shield yourself from them. #*//damnthehackers.

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