Personal Information, Password Theft on the Rise

July 19, 2012

Hacked personal information online, including stolen passwords, has soared 300 percent during the first four months of 2012, according to a study by Experian CreditExpert and Opinion Matters. 

Twelve million pieces of personal information were illegally sold to cybercriminals during that timeframe, with the bulk of the hacked information containing login details and passwords for personal accounts. 

"The reason password and login combinations make up nine out of ten illegally traded pieces of data is because they give access to a huge amount of other valuable information, such as address books and related accounts," Peter Turner, managing director at Experian Consumer Services in the UK and Ireland, told The Tech Spot. 

One thing putting some people more at risk from hackers is that they use the same password for all of their online accounts, or they have five or less of the same passwords that they use over and over again. Security experts suggest having a different password for each account you have. They also recommend that passwords contain at least eight characters with a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. 

Source: "Experian: Password Theft Soars 300% to 12 Million in First Quarter,” TechSpot (July 18, 2012)