Cyber-experts have warned of a holiday rise in the attacks – which use leaked passwords to break into your accounts. When websites leak or are hacked, huge file dumps containing passwords are uploaded online. Hackers then try these passwords on your other accounts – or other users.
They hope that you’ve re-used your passwords, or have chosen simple and commonly adopted logins. This gives hackers easy access to your online accounts without having to directly compromise your system. If hackers can gain access to your Gmail or Outlook with this technique, they could then break into even more accounts.
Hackers can steal and use your private info, resell it, drain your bank accounts and wreak havoc across your online life.
Just days ago, a whopping 5.5billion passwords had been hacked .https://haveibeenpwned.com/
How to stay safe this Christmas
You can use HaveIBeenPwned, a Website created by Microsoft exec Troy Hunt, to check your own email to see if you’ve been caught up in any leaks. It will not only tell you if your email or phone number is known to have been in a data breach, the site gives sound advice about what to do next.
But remember: even if your email hasn’t been breached, you may be using a simple password that has leaked from someone else. This could also get you hacked. Consider using a password manager – like Apple’s iCloud Keychain or Google Chrome – to generate strong passwords and be warned of re-used logins.
It’s important to immediately change your log-in details to stay safe.