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Billions of passwords stolen in hacking spree

14 August 2014 - 12:59 by Mike Price

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The importance of having a secure password and changing it regularly has been highlighted this month, after it emerged that hackers managed to steal over 1.2 billion login details, according to the Daily Mail.

Hundreds of thousands of websites were targeted as part of the cybercrime spree, with US-based researchers at Hold Security managing to uncover the work of the Russian hacking team involved.

At the time of writing, the security experts have not identified any of the individual sites that were impacted by the hacking activities, although it is safe to assume that there will be some well known domains in amongst the more obscure targets.

While businesses should be held accountable when it comes to offering customers the chance to enjoy safe shopping online, without having passwords and other private information exposed to malicious third parties, there are still actions that individual consumers can take to shore up their e-commerce privacy.

Changing your password on the sites you use regularly is a sensible plan, as well as picking a login phrase that is more secure than some of the common and easy to crack combinations. You should also endeavour to keep abreast of any developments which could impact your ability to carry out safe shopping online, such as the revelation of a major theft like this, so that you can take the necessary precautions.

Gartner security analyst, Avivah Litan, explained that many businesses were now in a position of having to reconsider the kinds of security systems they use when allowing customers to log into websites, according to the Times. But while there may be a password-free future ahead of us, you should not forget to keep using current systems safely and securely, as well as shopping only with reputable online retailers.