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These were the biggest password hacks of 2016
When it comes to topics of interest, online security appears in the same highly-important, supremely-boring column as dental hygiene or tax prep. We know these things are important and if we don’t pay them sufficient attention we can pay a pretty high price for our negligence. But most of us just can’t quite force ourselves to be ultra-vigilant when it comes to passwords. That said, some of us have a lot more reason to be protective than others.
Everyone knows the familiar excuse of “I’ve got nothing to hide” when it comes to online privacy and security, but in reality, we all have secrets on our phones, in our laptops and in our emails that we’d probably prefer weren’t public knowledge.
That is especially true if you’re a high profile public figure, not because your secrets are necessarily any better than anyone else’s (although they might be), but because the higher your profile the more likely you are to come under attack. But it seems even the biggest stars can’t be any more bothered with online security than the rest of us.
Dashlane has released it’s annual list of the highest profile hacks of the year, highlighting the significant, embarrassing and game-changing impacts of having an account hacked.
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It should come as no surprise that professional hackers Our Mine make the list, with their list of celebrity hacks that include everyone from tech luminaries like Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai, Daniel Elk and Jack Dorsey, to musicians and celebs including Katy Perry, Drake, Lana Del Rey, Kylie Jenner, Chelsea Handler, Channing Tatum and more. Reused passwords were the culprit in most of these cases.
John Podesta also made the list, with the hacked emails of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman potentially playing a major role in the U.S. Presidential Election. Dashlane points out that Podesta fell foul of a classic phishing email, proving that even old-school attacks still work today.
The NFL wasn’t even given a sporting chance when it lots control of its Twitter account and mischievously informed the world that Commissioner Roger Goodell was dead. The offending tweet was removed mere minutes later, but not before some news networks ran the story. In this case, hackers got access to an employee’s emails that contained the League’s Twitter password.
Huge websites including Yahoo, Adult Friend Finder, LinkedIn, MySpace and Dropbox were all hacked this year in several very high profile exploits that exposed two billion user account details to hackers. As usual, the bigger the user base, the higher the priority for hackers, and even when your password is solid, if the security at the sites you use isn’t, you’re still vulnerable.
The list goes on and on, from Harry Styles to the Houston Astros and various iCloud accounts. While these celebrity hacks fuel our fascination with the private lives of celebrities, I’m sure we’d feel a lot differently if it was our secrets that were plastered all over the internet (assuming anyone would even care).
As always, Dashlane has a few tips to avoid adding yourself to the list of folks hacked each year. From creating passwords like Kanye West albums (“completely random and impossible to guess”) to two-factor authentication and using different passwords for each account, there’s some very obvious tips here. But like driving within the speed limit, we know the rules, we just have trouble following them.
Unsurprisingly, using a password manager to centralize all of your account passwords and generate strong alpha-numeric passwords unique to each account or site makes sense, and Dashlane is taking the opportunity to offer a $20 discount off its annual premium subscription fee. Dashlane is free to use on one device, but you’ll need a premium account to sync passwords across devices. The discount is good from now until midnight PST on Friday December 16.
- You can check out the full list of hacks and claim the discounted premium subscription rate here.
Have you ever had an account hacked? How do you manage online security?