The idea of someone hacking into a big secure company like Telstra and stealing my personal information is scary. What’s scarier is how many people use the same password for their email account or facebook page as for their paypal account or online banking.
When a hacker steals information from a company like Telstra one of the things they are often doing is looking for your name, your email address and your password. They then try to log in to sites such as paypal, which are often linked to your bank account, using that same email address/password combination.
A hacker won’t do this by hand – he or she will set up a program to check all the email address and password combinations for them. When someone is using the same password for everything, they give the hacker access to their bank accounts, their email accounts… essentially their entire online private life. This can then be used to steal money or for the purposes of identity theft.
The easiest way to stop this happening is to use a different password for anything that matters. Use a different password for your online banking, your email account, your paypal account, your ebay account… anything which could give someone access to your money or your personal information.
We are all guilty of using the same password more than once. Even as I am writing this I can think of one or two passwords I need to go home and change. If you are worried then write them down, and hide the list somewhere safe, away from your computer. If you think someone has seen it, change them and hide the list somewhere new.
Read the news article Telstra owned website hacked to find out if your information might be in danger.