Are you guilty of one of the worst bad technology habits possible? Do you use the same password and login name for a large number of online sites? If so, you might be putting yourself at considerable risk. Cunning hackers just might crack your password. When they do, what’s to stop them from utilizing that password to gain access to all of your favorite online sites – including, potentially, your online bank – while pretending to be you?

Hacked

According to the story, LivingSocial.com — which provides users daily bargains on anything from restaurants and spas to amusement parks and museums — recently suffered a significant security breach. The breach exposed the names, e-mail addresses and password information for up to 50 million LivingSocial users, according to ars technica.

Aftershocks

After the breach, Tim O’Shaughnessy, chief executive officer of LivingSocial.com, recommended the site’s users change the passwords they use to gain access to the deals site. He also recommended that users change any passwords that they use to access other sites which are the same or similar to what they use to log into LivingSocial. This, as ars technica reports, is a bit of an understatement. If you use a similar password to log onto Netflix, LivingSocial.com and your online bank, stop reading this story and immediately go change these passwords. And do yourself a favor — don’t ever reuse a password from one site at another.

A Hassle, But Important

It’s bad enough if a hacker nabs your password at one site. But what happens if you use this same password at other sites? What happens if you use this same password at your online bank or credit union? You could be in a world of hurt as this hacker easily uses your universal password to break into dozens of your favorite or most sensitive online sites. Yes, it’s not much fun needing to recall the a large number of passwords you will need as you make your way around the Internet. Nevertheless, make the effort. It’s less fun to realize that a cyber criminal has used your password to empty your online bank account.

Photo credit: Cutting out the alphabet crackers by joyosity (CC BY 2.0)

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