INDIANAPOLIS - After reports surfaced Wednesday of Russian hackers stealing 1.2 billion user names and passwords in a series of Internet heists affecting 420,000 websites, thousands of people wondered whether or not their personal information was at risk.
Hoosier Darryl Brown said he was on alert after the attack because he uses online banking.
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"I've been changing my passwords now for the last year or so because of the different hacks. That's really kind of dangerous because, of course like everyone else, I access my bank accounts from home, including my email accounts and credit card accounts," Brown said.
Cyber security expert Scott Orr said even he is concerned about his personal information being leaked.
"It's concerning obviously, especially since we don't know who's been affected. So we as the consumers want to know, 'Is my information compromised? Where is it compromised? What should I change?' There are a lot of unknowns right now," Orr said. "These things can happen, so be very, very careful especially with things that are very sensitive data like your account information, social security number, anything that you would really not want being out there, be very careful how you put it out there and how you protect it."
According to a recent survey, the most common passwords last year were 123456, and the word "password." Experts say we need to make our passwords much harder to guess; the harder the better. Also, try not to duplicate passwords and don't use the same password for financial information that you use for social media and email accounts.
After learning of the security breach, Hoosier Mary Agnew said she planned on changing her passwords.
"It seems like there's so many of them now. It's not just the one at home and at work now. Everything that you touch seems to have a password. It's difficult to keep up with it," Agnew said.
It may be a tedious task, but Orr said that changing passwords will protect you in the long run.
"No one wants to remember 20 passwords, so they'll use the same one or maybe the same two or three. If these (hackers) have gotten ahold of your account in one spot and they can then figure out maybe where you have other accounts, they may have your password even though they didn't directly intercept that information," he said.
Another security tip to remember is to never click on any strange links or open any emails from unknown senders. Even if emails are sent from a friend, that friend's email account could have been hacked.
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