LinkedIn hacked; protecting your passwords - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

LinkedIn hacked; protecting your passwords

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

User passwords were hacked and stolen from the popular business, networking site LinkedIn. Users are advised to change their passwords immediately.

However, if you're someone who uses the same password for many sites, security experts recommend changing all of your passwords as well.

LinkedIn didn't give many details on its security meltdown Wednesday. More than six million passwords were discovered on a foreign site. LinkedIn confirmed a number of them corresponded to their users.

"Hearing this news is actually really depressing because I use the same password for everything," says Michelle Martin, a LinkedIn user and VCU student.

Martin is like many people who don't switch up their passwords. It's a risky move according to Garth Wermter, president of Richmond-based IT and Communications Company.

"Most of your other sites may use the same username or password or both -- the same combination -- and from there, it's just a matter of (hackers) applying that username and password combination to other sites like eBay, Amazon or your banking site," said Wermter.

Hackers run millions of combinations of potential passwords and usernames, hoping to strike it big on your bank account or identity. The easiest way to stay ahead of the scammers is to use strong and different passwords for each site.

"It requires a little more effort, but it is very realistic," said Wermter.

Wermter suggests using a base password with symbols and different cases, like P@SSme. Then apply that the same word to different sites, like P@SSme4gmail, or P@SSme4ebay.

Another way to keep track of all of your different passwords is to use a password keeper program. Two free ones online are KeePass and Password Safe.

LinkedIn said it will email the users whose accounts were compromised.

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

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