Americans warned to change online passwords after Russian hackin - Fox 2 News Headlines

Americans warned to change online passwords after Russian hacking incident

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Russian hackers somehow got a hold of more than a billion usernames and passwords, and that means millions could be impacted.

Just imagine having your identity stolen, not once but twice.

“One happened in the early 90's and the other happened about 8 years ago,” said Jeanette James.

Since then, Jeanette and her daughter Chloe started changing their online passwords twice a year, but even that's not enough.

“I get nervous about it a lot that somebody is going to steal my stuff off the internet,” said Chloe James.

Jared Sikorski is a Forensic Investigator at Chicago-based 4Discovery, which cracks more than 500 cyber security cases a year. He strongly suggested changing passwords every three months.

“You can change your password immediately. As soon as you're done watching this, change your password,” said Sikorski.

He also showed FOX 32's Tisha Lewis how hackers can unlock a weak password in thirty seconds or less.

“It's going to get every single letter that you would need for this password,” said Sikorski.

Sikorski suggested using symbols and several characters to avoid becoming a victim.

“If my password was (random, jumbled letters and symbols) it may never find it and by the time it does find it, whoever is trying to find it, they'd quit or be in jail,” said Sikorski.

Karl Sigler is a Threat Intelligence Manager at security company Trustwave. He suggested getting creative.

“The longer the password is, is much more important than the complexity of the password,” said Sigler in an interview via Skype with FOX 32's Tisha Lewis.

“We generally recommend pass-phrases rather than passwords, so if you can think of a phrase like 'my dog is at the window barking,'” said Sigler.

Out of a sample of more than 600,000 passwords, Sigler said his team was able to breach nearly 92%.

Jeanette also said she may have to go to extremes to avoid becoming a victim again.

“I should stop using it at least that's how I feel, and I keep using it and every time I do it, it kind of scares me,” said James who plans to stop using 'Cyberspace.'

Trustwave said that 'Password1' is the most common password followed by 'Hello123.' Some cyber security companies, including 4Discovery, have a portal to type in your email address to check and see if you're a victim of a breach.

For more information, visit 4Discovery's website.

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