Security Alert: Why Cyber Criminals Want Your Passwords


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Whether your password of choice is “CoffeeFanatic2015” or “6&wX$yu900^1, you probably use it for the vast majority of your sites. Cyber criminals know this and often go for the low-hanging fruit such as mobile apps, loyalty programs, forums, and other systems where security may be weak. They could also use keylogger software to capture your keystrokes or they might trick you into entering your information into a fake online banking site. Your username and password may also be stolen in a large security breach.

What Cyber Criminals Do with Stolen Passwords

Once the cyber criminals get your username and password, whether through spyware or a hacking incident, they have the keys to potentially unlock your other online accounts. Let’s say that you fell for a phishing scam and inadvertently revealed your username and password to a cyber criminal. You just handed them the keys to your accounts.

cyber criminalArmed with these credentials, the cyber criminal can now go to popular sites such as Facebook or Bank of America and log in as you. On Facebook, the cyber criminal might post a malicious link in an attempt to ensnare your friends. On Bank of America, you can only imagine the type of financial damage the cyber criminal can do. These are just two examples, but the possibilities are endless.

How to Thwart Cyber Criminals

In order to prevent falling victim to this, make sure to use unique – and strong – username and password combinations for every site you use. If you only had one or two logins, this would be doable. However, the more sites you use, the more difficult this becomes.

That’s where password managers┬ácome into play. Password managers allow you to have unique logins for each site without having to specifically remember them. Instead, you memorize just one password, which unlocks the password manager. From there, you use the software to log in to your favorite sites. If a cyber criminal somehow steals one of your passwords, the damage will be limited to just that one site.

 


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