KSDK Talks With Parameter: Russian Hackers Have Passwords. Now What?

Date: 8/6/14

Source: KSDK Channel 5

Written By: Art Holliday

Link to Video: Click Here

ST. LOUIS – It’s time to change your password.

In the biggest security breach yet, a gang of Russian hackers has stolen over a billion usernames and passwords, putting bank accounts and credit card information at risk.

The immediate fix is to change your password on a regular basis, but for some, being proactive with passwords seems like a losing battle against relentless hackers.

“Part of it is the hassle because I’d have to remember all of the passwords,” said Joe Rodgers at a St. Charles, Mo. coffee shop. “The other part is, I think there’s a sense of inevitability about these things being hacked.”

Despite never ending reports of Internet breaches, most of us are unenthusiastic about the monumental hassle of constantly changing our passwords.

“Your information is already out there,” Internet security expert Dave Chronister said. “It really comes down to how much you want to fight it.”

Chronister is president of Parameter Security in St. Charles. He said there are a couple of things we can do to fight back and make it harder for hackers.

“In our firm, we require that everybody’s passwords to be at least 15 characters, and some of these are over 30 characters,” Chronister said.

Besides a long password of at least 15 characters, Chronister suggests using an easy-to-remember song lyric or a memorable movie line as a pass phrase.

“So if I use a term like ‘may the force be with you’ with spaces, that’s over 25 characters and that’s not going to be very hard to remember.”

Chronister warns to never store your passwords on your computer, tablet, or phone. He said some computer browsers store all of your passwords, an inviting target for a hacker who gains access to a computer. Instead he suggests an old school method.

“Write them on a piece of paper. Put them in a safe. Put them somewhere where only you have access to them,” Chronister said. “Don’t wait until a breach happens to change your password. Do it on a regular basis.

Some people will follow that advice, while others remain unconvinced they can stay one step ahead of malicious hackers.

“I just feel like sooner or later something’s going to happen,” said Joe Rodgers. “Hopefully later.”