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Securing Online Accounts after Mass Data Breaches

It seems as though every week a different company or social media platform has been hit by hackers, and millions of accounts are put at risk. Recently, hackers have targeted social platforms such as LinkedIn, Myspace, Tumblr and Twitter, claiming they have email addresses and passwords that they are selling on the dark web.

The account information acquired by these hackers is due to mass data breaches, where, according to Twitter, “attackers mine the exposed username, email and password data, leverage automation, and then attempt to automatically test this login data and passwords against all top websites.”

If your email address and passwords are in the possession of a hacker, all of your online accounts with the same login details are at risk. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to completely safeguard against hackers, but you can improve the security of your accounts by using different passwords.

As much as we’re unwilling to admit it, many of us use the same password for multiple accounts. We can all agree that it’s difficult to remember multiple passwords, particularly if they are at least 8 characters long and include a capital letter, number, and special character. However, if you are using the same password for multiple accounts or email addresses, hackers may be able to gain access to all of your important, personal information, including your bank details.

Many websites are now taking the steps to automatically lock any accounts that have been affected, and according to TechCrunch many social media platforms are “introducing stronger encryption, email challenges and two-factor authentication”.

Two-factor authentication is an extremely reliable way to secure your online accounts; it adds an extra step to logging into your account that only you have access to, such as using a card reader or sending a code to your mobile phone.

As soon as you hear of a data breach on any platform you have an account with, change your password and take steps to add two-factor authentication. If you’re worried any of your accounts are a part of these data breaches, you can check by using a website called Have I Been Pwned?