Living Social hack exposes dangers of using one password at multiple sites

Are you guilty of one of the worst bad technology habits possible? Do you ever use the exact same password and login name for a large number of online sites? If so, you might be putting yourself at severe risk. Clever hackers just might crack your password. And when they do, what’s to stop them from using that password to access all of your favorite online sites – including, potentially, your online bank – while pretending to be you?

Major Breach

According to the story, LivingSocial.com — which offers users daily bargains on everything from restaurants and spas to amusement parks and museums — recently suffered a massive security breach. The breach exposed the names, e-mail addresses and password information for up to 50 million LivingSocial users, according to ars technica.

Too Little, Too Late?

After the breach, Tim O’Shaughnessy, chief executive officer of LivingSocial.com, advised the site’s users change the passwords they utilize to access the deals site. He also advised that users change any passwords that they use to access other sites that are the same or similar to what they use to log into LivingSocial. This, as ars technica reports, is a bit of an understatement. If you use the same password to log onto Netflix, LivingSocial.com and your online bank, stop reading this account and immediately go and change these passwords. And do yourself a favor — do not ever reuse a password from one site at another.

Change it Up

It can be difficult to recall dozens of passwords. And there are occasions when you simply want to log onto a site with a password that you’ve used lots of times before as it’s easier than creating, and writing down, a brand-new access code. Don’t fall victim to this urge. If a hacker cracks your password at one site, it’s not overly hard for this cyber criminal to use the same one to gain access to your other Web sites, too, if you’re too lazy to create unique passwords at different sites. Yes, passwords are imperfect. Even so the more creative you are with them — including creating separate passwords for each and every site you visit — the better off you’ll be.