Today’s news is filled with reports of a Russian crime ring that has amassed a list of 1.2 billion hacked passwords. What you may not know is that this did not happen overnight as is portrayed. These criminals have been working on this project for months or even years. Instead of compromising servers at large corporations, the criminals are targeting every internet user from the local car dealership, to you and your neighbors. The question of how so many passwords can be compromised is one of the first asked by most people. There are multiple answers, and they are simple.
People tend to use the same password for all of their online resources including, banks, credit cards, email sites, social media, etc. If a hacker gets one password, he gets them all.
Your email account is a window into your digital world. If a hacker can compromise your email account, he can use that to gain passwords to your other online resources.
Computer users do not tend to change passwords regularly. In many cases, the credentials that are comprised were found over a year ago, and they will still work.
How are we at Branson Bank Responding To The News?
Your security is our top priority. We have checked in with the technical teams that manage our online banking services. There are no outstanding vulnerabilities that would allow attackers to compromise our customers’ accounts through our online banking service. Further, our customers are insulated from account compromise because our system requires users to change passwords every 90 days, and because we have implemented multifactor authentication which is used on all customer accounts. As reported by most tech security firms, these are the two primary methods of defending accounts from compromise. At Branson Bank we want to offer the most convenient service and ease of access, while keeping the security of our customers at the top of the list.
What can you do to help keep yourself safe?
Considering the size of the list of compromised passwords, odds are favorable that you or someone you know is on that list. There are several ways to eliminate the threat to your security.
Change your passwords. All of them, including your most recent ones. Start with your email account, and update all of your other important account passwords. If necessary keep a written list of your new passwords in a non-visible place near your computer. Do not store the password list in a file on your computer. This is the most effective defense against this issue.
Don’t use the same password for more than one resource. Even if each password is only a little bit different, it will make a big difference in your security.
Don’t use passwords that are easy to guess based on information found on your social media profile. Birthdates, children’s names, and pet names do not make good passwords. In many cases hackers can use your birthdate information to try to recover a password.
Keep your antivirus software current and up to date. Even with good antivirus software it is possible that something malicious has gotten through. If you have any reasonable suspicion that your computer harbors malware, have it examined by a computer professional. Your security is worth it!
Norton Security has posted an informational article about it here:
** Note – This link is provided for additional informational purposes only. This link goes to the Norton corporate site, and not to a Branson Bank domain. Branson Bank is not responsible for content on any website outside of its own domain.