You should change your passwords as 8.5 billion of them have been leaked online


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — It’s the worst password breach of all time. Nearly 8.5 billion passwords have been leaked online by hackers in what’s being called the RockYou2021 leak.

You need to think of your password just like the keys to your house or automobile.

You wouldn’t give access to your home or car to just anyone, but this breach has just handed hackers the keys to literally billions of peoples’ passwords.

Our passwords are something most of us don’t really think about.

“It’s been years since I’ve changed any of my passwords for Facebook or my email,” said Jodi Edwards of Raleigh. She finds changing them “too much hassle at the moment.”

With nearly 8.5 billion passwords out in the clear, hackers can now use them in automated attacks on anything you’ve secured.

Grant Gibson of CIBR Institute says there’s hundreds of attacks going our way every second.

“This is a constant, constant battle,” he said.”

How do you know if your password is out there? You can use a password leak site like this and check.

When Consumer Investigator Steve Sbraccia checked his multiple passwords on the site, he found several had been compromised.

Gibson says the lesson in this is simple, “Change your password and do it today,” he said.

Experts like Gibson says you should create a strong and unique password.

One option is a random password generator, but that presents problems for some folks because it creates passwords that are difficult to memorize.

Abigail Morrison of Raleigh says she thinks often about changing her password but doesn’t because “I don’t want to forget it.”

An option to avoid that problem is to use a password you can that is familiar to you and you alone. Many experts recommend using a phrase.

Trying to keep lots of passwords organized is also an issue for many of us.

“They make tools to help you do that,” said Gibson. “They’re called password managers.”

He said, “You can download them on your phone or download them on your computer”

Even many browsers offer to remember your passwords but don’t forget, nothing is totally secure.

For best password security:

  • Change them every 30-90 days
  • Use different passwords on different accounts 
  • Don’t trust emails asking for passwords. That’s phishing. 

Now that you’ve read this, don’t procrastinate. Start changing those passwords. 

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