Reports have surfaced that hackers have made available approximately five million Gmail passwords along with associated Gmail addresses on black market websites used by identity thieves. This may be related to the recent disclosure of the greatest data theft in history which I reported to you about on August 7th in which a Russian gang stole 1.2 billion user names and passwords along with 500 million email addresses. If you are a user of Gmail, this news can appear to be extremely threatening, but the truth is not quite so bad. In fact, the passwords in many instances have turned out to be passwords for other accounts of the Gmail account holders and that these passwords were obtained, not from hacking Gmail, but by hacking other accounts. As a result of their investigation, Google has determined that less than 2% were working Gmail passwords. Google has already acted to secure those affected accounts and contacting those people affected and advised them to change their passwords. In response to this situation, Google has set up a new service called Account Checkup by which you can check to see if someone has logged on to your account.
The good news is that if you have a Gmail account, it is unlikely that your Gmail password has been compromised, however the bad news is that some other password of yours has been compromised and you are in danger of identity theft. The important thing for everyone is to have separate complex passwords for all of your accounts and to change them on a regular basis, such as every six months. For more information about how to create complex, but easy to remember passwords, I suggest that you pick up a copy of my new book, “Identity Theft Alert.” On the right side of this page is a link to the book on Amazon. Where possible, you should also consider two-factor authentication for additional protection.