Last July I reported to you about the hacking of major league baseball’s Houston Astros. At that time it was not known who accomplished the hack of the Astro’s databases that contained discussions of player trades, complicated player statistics and scouting reports. Now the FBI is indicating that the hacking was the work of employees of the St. Louis Cardinals. Preliminary reports indicate that the motive may have been to set back the work of Astro’s General Manager, Jeff Luhnow, who previously had been an executive in the Cardinal’s organization where he was in charge of scouting and player development. The hacking does not appear to be particularly sophisticated. Apparently the Cardinals’ employees behind the hacking merely used the list of passwords that Luhnow and people working under him had used while employed by the Cardinals to gain access to the Astros’ databases.
The biggest takeaway for all of us from this story is the danger of using the same passwords for all of your accounts, which unfortunately is a habit that many people have gotten into. Hackers will often steal passwords of customers from companies when they commit a data breach and then use those passwords for identity theft purposes at banks, brokerage houses and other companies where the victim can suffer substantial financial losses. The best course to follow is to have a difficult to crack password that is unique for every account. This is easier than it sounds. Start off with a phrase, such as IDon’tLikePasswords, which combines capital letters, small letters and a symbol. Then add a couple of additional symbols at the end of the password so it may read, for example, IDon’tLikePasswords!!! and then you can customize it for each of your accounts. For example, you could make this your Amazon password by making it IDon’tLikePasswords!!!Ama. This password strategy provides great security and is easy to remember.