The Real Deal

The Real Deal

 
text size

The Real Deal: Securing your online accounts

Updated: Thursday, August 7 2014, 07:23 PM EDT
ALBANY - By now, you've likely heard of the Russian crime ring that got its hands on more than a billion website logins.  While there is no specific list of websites that were compromised in order to obtain the information, it's safe to assume that at least some of our usernames and passwords were breached.   The information comes from at least 400,000 websites so now is a good time to inventory all of the online accounts you have a then change your passwords.  
 
Reg Harnish and his team at GreyCastle Security in Troy know how to breach company websites, they do it every day, "we're actually acting as hackers and we try to break into their networks and systems and applications and certainly their people and we see if we can steal money out of their bank accounts, or steal credit card information or other protected information and then at the end, we tell them how we did it so we can fix those security vulnerabilities," he says.  While the most recent crime ring got their hands on a massive number of usernames, passwords and email addresses, Harnish says there are likely other hackers out there with even more, "the real question is, how much of it is out there that we don't know about? So, this one security firm found a stockpile of credentials and exposed it, there's probably more where that came from," he adds.
 
That's why we, as users, need to step up our own security, starting with passwords.   "The length of the password is actually more important than how often you change it," Harnish says.  The longer the better and be creative about how you create and remember your passwords, " you can do anything from replacing vowels with special characters to using a phrase, the lyrics to your favorite song and only using the first characters of each word, or a pattern on the keyboard, the letters are actually drawing a picture on the keyboard," Harnish suggests.  .  
 
Many of the big websites will also let you take security a step further, "if you can enable multi-factor authentication, even if someone has your password, they're still going to need something else to get into your account," he says but normally, you have to go into your account settings to find out how to do it.   If you have a hard time remembering passwords, you may consider applications and services that help to manage your accounts and generate secure passwords for every site. All you have to do is remember a single password for the app but Harnish warns there are drawbacks to that as well, "if you've got a password vault that's in the cloud and the connection goes down or you're out of range, there's all sorts of reasons why you might not be able to reach your password vault so they're not without issues themselves."
The Real Deal: Securing your online accounts


Advertise with us!

Related Stories

Hello and thank you for stopping by The Real Deal web-page! I'm hoping you'll find some useful information here. I (Jennifer Lewke) will be updating this page daily to bring you the latest news on anything and everything that may impact your wallet. Whether it's a bad business trying to rip you off, a contractor who took your money and ran, the government wasting your tax dollars, or a telemarketer who just won't stop calling, my goal is to uncover it and hopefully prevent it from happening again!

On the right-hand side of this page, you'll see a section labled "Links" --these will all take you to websites for organizations that help protect consumers. Most of the groups have the authority to fine or shut down bad businesses so it's important to file the proper complaints to get some action.

I'm happy to look into any issue you have to get you the Real Deal. You can reach me anytime at (518) 381-4992 or by email at jlewke@wrgb.com. I hope to hear from you soon!

Top Stories

 
Advertise with us!

Links

  • New York State Attorney General's Office
    Consumer complaints against a business or service in New York state


  • Federal Trade Commission
    Consumer complaints against a nation-wide company


  • New York Public Service Commission
    Consumer complaints about utility companies


  • Consumer Finanical Protection Bureau
    Consumer complaints about a bank, credit card company, or loan company


  • New York State Division of Consumer Protection
    Identity theft and scam protection


  • Phishing Scams
    How to protect yourself from phishing scams


  • Free Credit Reports
    Everyone is entitled to one free copy of a credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus once a year


  • Unsolicited Emails
    To check out unsolicited emails


  • Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York
    Free legal advice