Yahoo Mail hack teaches a valuable lesson

The recent hack of Yahoo Mail is a great opportunity to stress common sense security practices.

Yahoo Mail was hacked. Details are sketchy in terms of just how many Yahoo Mail accounts have been compromised. Yahoo suggests that the attackers most likely gained access to the data through a third-party database outside of Yahoo control. Regardless of how the compromise occurred, there is a lesson to be learned here...again.

Hacks happen, but If you've followed basic security practices and aren't using the same login credentials for multiple sites and services, a compromised Yahoo Mail shouldn't put anything at risk other than your Yahoo Mail account.

But everybody has violated this practice it at some point. It's just so much easier to remember your login credentials if you use the same email address and password for everything. The problem is that the bad guys know you're probably doing it.

"Diversifying your passwords for each account is essential to protecting all of your online information," says W. Hord Tipton, executive director of (ISC)2. "Once a password has been stolen, hackers often attempt to access multiple accounts; compounding the potential damage."

Tipton recommends users follow established practices for choosing strong passwords--use at least eight characters with a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Don't use words that can be found in the dictionary--not even if you replace the letter "e" with a "3," or the letter "a" with an "@" symbol. You should change your passwords every 60 to 90 days, and you shouldn't re-use previous passwords since that undermines the point of changing your passwords.

The most important element, though, when it comes to safeguarding your larger online identity is make sure you use different usernames and passwords for all of the various sites and services you log into. Using the same password everywhere is like having one key that unlocks your house, your car, your safety deposit box, your desk drawer at work, and your locker at the gym. They each have different keys for a reason.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Yahoosecuritypasswords

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tony Bradley

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?