Google has warned users that billions of passwords – and hundreds of thousands of username and password combinations – have been hacked. The company launched ‘Password Checkup’ an extension for Chrome earlier in the year to help users safeguard their accounts in the event of a data breach.
According to a report by RiskBased Security, there has been a 54% increase in the number of reported breaches in 2019 exposing over 4.1 billion records. This means that it is likely many people are using log in information known to hackers.
What can you do to protect yourself in the event of a data hack that exposes your personal information?
Google’s Password Checkup helps you to know if your login information has been compromised. The extension sends you an alert to change your login information whenever you sign onto a website with a username or password that is no longer safe. To do this, Google cross references your log in details with a database containing hacked logins. Be rest assured however as Password Checkup (developed with cryptography experts at Stanford) never reports any identifying information about your account, password or device.
What are the most common hacked passwords?
SpashData’s yearly report shows that many people are still using easily guessable passwords such as “123456”, “password”, “welcome” and “admin”. In the first month, Google’s Password Checkup scanned 21 million usernames and passwords and flagged over 316,000 as unsafe. The findings also showed that a significant amount of people ignore security breach warnings or alerts to reset their passwords (25.7% of its alert totalling did not trigger a password change from users).
The Risk of Ignoring Security Breach Warnings
Using the same password across different sites places you at a greater risk if the password is weak. If a hacker steals one of your passwords, this can be used to gain access to any of your other accounts.
“A large proportion of data breaches are largely down to individuals not paying enough due care and attention to their passwords. Passwords are either too easy to guess, not complex enough or simply not protected. A large portion of individuals also ‘put all their eggs in one basket’ by using the same password for everything – leaving themselves very vulnerable in the event their password becomes compromised.” says Jamal Ahmed, lead GDPR consultant for Kazient Privacy Experts.
Simple steps to safeguard your account include avoiding common phrases that are easy to track, changing your password straight away when notified of a hack, avoid using the same password across multiple sites and lastly, using a strong password including a capital letter, punctuation and numerals. These outlined steps can go a long way in helping you to protect your personal information.
Kazient Privacy Experts offer bespoke Data Protection, Privacy and GDPR compliance solutions in a language you understand to UK and international organisations, and has received positive media coverage across Europe. Kazient’s GDPR consultants are fully certified to be your outsourced Data Protection Officer or EU Representative. Get in touch to find out how we can help your business by visiting our website www.kazient.co.uk or calling us on 0330 022 9009.