Jose Pagliery at CNN Money wrote this earlier this year:
"Hackers have exposed the personal information of 110 million Americans -- roughly half of the nation's adults -- in the last 12 months alone. The damage is real. Each record typically includes personal information, such as your name, debit or credit card, email, phone number, birthday, password, security questions and physical address.
It's enough to get hunted down by an abusive ex-spouse. It makes you an easier target for scams. And even if only basic information about you is stolen, that can easily be paired with stolen credit card data, empowering impostors.”
Hacks have happened at Target, Adobe, Snapchat, AOL and eBay over the past couple years. The CNN Money article has a short video that shows a hacker stealing passwords which I recommend as motivation to follow through on protections.
So what can the average person who uses their computer — and smart phone, don’t forget about the information you’re carrying around in your pocket — for basic stuff like browsing, shopping (at the Best of the Left Amazon link, for example) and keeping up with friends and family do to protect themselves? Most don’t want to spend hours and money on upgrades and complicated programs. Luckily, there’s a great and simple place to start -- 1 Password:
Use the link below to download the plug-in to your Mac, PC, android, tablet, iPhone and/or iPad. Basically, One Password makes it easy for you to take all that unpractical advice you’ve been hearing for years: don’t use the same password for everything; include numbers; use capital letters; change your passwords regularly; use password with a zillion characters and include ones like the pound sign and exclamation point.
Obviously your password strength isn’t the only thing you should be doing to protect yourself. The Guardian has a great piece I highly recommend: "Internet security: 10 ways to keep your personal data safe from online snoopers.” It gives options for browsing, cloud services, file storage and encryption as well as basic suggestions like avoiding location apps like FourSquare and having your bluetooth default setting at “off.”
"Viator travel website hacked: 1.4 million users' information stolen, including payment card data” by Dan Raywood at International Business Times
Hear the segment in context:
Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich