Experian, a company which oversees credit reports as well as identify theft, concluded that 12 million pieces of personal information had been lifted illegal and sold during the four-month period that opened the 2012 year. A staggering 90% of those consisted of login details and passwords. The figures are much larger than the credit agencies data from 2011, which totaled 9.5 million for the entire 12 months.
The reason password and login combinations make up nine out of ten illegally traded pieces of data is because they give access to a huge amount of other valuable information, such as address books and related accounts, stated Peter Turner, the managing director at Experian Consumer Services.
The number indicate that many individuals are still not careful enough with their online codes and passwords, as well as revealed that Americans are, on average, using as few as five separate passwords for the average 26 online accounts. It is also apparent through the research that a quarter of American users had a single password only for a majority of their profiles and accounts.
Theyre as strong as a simple lock against professional thieves. Passwords can be guessed, cracked or stolen through social engineering, Turner said. Worse still, businesses can be attacked and stories of breached password databases make for uneasy reading. Businesses need to think carefully how they secure password information for which they are responsible, such as encrypting password records and securing the database.
This year, an increasing number of sites have fallen victims to hackers, with breaches coming from millions of passwords published online. With the thefts on the rise, it is becoming evermore important to make online accounts as secure as possible.
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