Earlier this year there was a data breach that effected multiple prominent email services including Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft. The breach compromised over 272 million email accounts. As it turns out, a young Russian hacker was responsible for the breach and handed over the information to a data security form in exchange for positive comments about his hacking ability in internet forums.
Even though this hack was reported in May, it is still relevant. First – there’s a tool you can use to find out if your account information was compromised in the initial hack. Visit this link and simply type in your email address or addresses to see if you were a victim of the breach: Gooligan
Second – large scale hacks such as these can lead to further phishing attacks using the email addresses compiled. Also, hackers know that users often do not vary their log-in passwords and fail to update their passwords. Thus, any accounts that were compromised can easily be compromised again if the user doesn’t take protective measures.
We encourage you to take stock of your passwords, change them if you use the same one for different accounts, and regularly update them. Password managers such as LastPass are designed to help you keep track and stay secure with minimal effort or inconvenience.