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Bill O’Reilly Website Hack Reminds Us All To Change Passwords

Bill O’Reilly’s website was hacked a couple years ago. We won’t describe the entire story since the details are “old news” and not relevant to the point of this article. Basically, Bill O’Reailly, a popular political commentator, reported a story about a website group that had previously released private information about Sarah Palin. Bill made comments about the website group that apparently didn’t sit well with them. Bill’s site was hacked soon after and several customers’ information was leaked to the public.

You can read the full news story here.

The point is this…

Ok, actually we have a couple points:

  1. Don’t use the same password on all sites. At the very least, please, please use different passwords for all financial websites
  2. Change your password often. Especially sites that matter a lot to you (i.e., email, financial, personal backups, etc.)

Bill O’Reilly’s team reported that they contacted all customers that had information compromised. Many of the customers they contacted admitted that they used that same password on several websites including PayPal.

Not convinced yet? Follow this hypothetical hacking train…

For those thick-headed people that read this post and still didn’t do anything, think about this.

  1. Hacker gets access to your website
  2. The password for your website is now in the hacker’s possession
  3. You aren’t the brightest tool in the shed and you use that same password for every other site you use… including email
  4. The hacker tries to log into your email account with the same password. That was easy.
  5. You have used your email for the past couple years as a type of “storage” system and you even “starred” important emails
  6. The hacker now has access to all those convenient starred emails and can access all your other private accounts
  7. Oh ya, while they’re at it, they spam your entire email contact list with whatever junk they spew from their mouths… probably including viruses

The list can go on and on. We’re not hackers and don’t pretend to think up all the evil designs they do. But the point is this… The easiest way for a hacker to get more information about your personal life is by attempting to use your hacked password on other accounts you use. Any number of your accounts could get hacked at some point… Facebook, Twitter, your banking website, your WordPress website, etc. You do all you can do to protect each service you control so don’t be stupid by allowing hackers to get your catch-all password.

You can read another scary article about Internet passwords here.

Oh ya, and my teachers always taught me to conclude a story by bringing back in the introduction. The hacker in the Bill O’Reilly case was sentenced to 30 months in prison and a $40,000 fine. Another lesson that the bad guys do eventually get caught.

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