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Security concerns spur on password change requests

10 June 2016 - 09:52 by David Aiken

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Major online services including Facebook and Netflix are sending out requests to large numbers of users, to encourage them to reset their passwords and pick a new login phrase to avoid having their accounts hacked, according to the Daily Mail.

This action is being taken in the wake of recent security breaches which saw hundreds of millions of account details stolen from sites, including LinkedIn and MySpace. So while neither Facebook nor Nextflix have themselves been compromised, the argument is that people who used duplicate passwords for multiple accounts with different services could be at risk of an attack.

The temptation to pick a password and use it again and again is too much for most web users to resist, even if this means that when one list of logins is stolen, cybercriminals can used this data to break into a litany of different accounts. And for anyone who wants to carry out safe shopping online without the likelihood of this occurring, using a different password for each account is essential.

Even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is not immune from criticism in this respect; this month it was announced that both his Twitter and Pinterest accounts were compromised after hackers uncovered that he used the same password for both, as well as for his LinkedIn profile.

The fact that social networking and streaming sites are taking action to make people change their passwords is both a positive step in the right direction and also a telling indicator of just how problematic the issue of online security has become.

Some sites that offer shopping online make use of two factor authentication to prevent unwanted access to accounts. And it may be useful to introduce this more widely to avoid other services being exploited.