How to Protect Yourself in Light of the Yahoo Hack

In this week’s episode I’ll be discussing what to do in light of the Yahoo hack, and how to safeguard your information going forward whether or not you were affected by this hack.

Eric Escobar
4-minute read
Episode #239

Should You Be Worried About the Yahoo Hack?

Luckily there are 500 million passwords the hackers would have to break, which means it would be an extremely difficult and laborious task to do so. Now Yahoo is pretty sure that a country carried out this hack, which means they will most likely have much more resources to break the passwords.

This is why it is important to never use the same password twice. You may want to check out my episode on password management.

This is why it is important to never use the same password twice. 

The information that I am worried about is everything else: names, birthdays, telephone numbers, and email addresses. With all of these pieces of information, you can do incredible damage both financially and digitally. After all, how many times do you use some of this information to prove your identity? For instance, what is your birthday? Last four digits of your phone number? All of this information in the wrong hands could be devastating. It could be used for fake accounts or to break into existing accounts that you own.

So what the heck do you do? Well there are a handful of things you can do. First is to create a Google Alert about yourself. Why? If someone creates an account with your name or about you, you will be notified.

Next you’ll head on over to this site where you can type in any of your email accounts or usernames, and it will show you if they have been involved in any known security breaches and hacks. I do this about once a month just to stay current.

I also check my credit three times a year for free thanks to Money Girl Laura Adams, just to make sure no one has opened up any accounts in my name that I’m not aware of. Lastly I use multi factor authentication; this means when I log in to any important online account, not only do I need a password but I also need my cell phone to log in. Typically I’ll be sent a text message, and have to type in a code in order to log in.

Going forward, there are a few things you can do to prevent how much of your data is exposed from these hacks. First and foremost, don’t answer security questions correctly. If a website asks “what was your first car?” I reply back Pizza or something just as nonsensical. I keep this with my password so I still have access to it but it’s different across all websites. If it’s an account you really don’t care about, I typically give out a fake birthday and an incorrect spelling of my name. This ensures that if this information is stolen it will be much harder to be used against me, or to pose as me.

Be sure to check out all my earlier episodes at techtalker.quickanddirtytips.com. And if you have further questions about this podcast or want to make a suggestion for a future episode, post them on Facebook.com/QDTtechtalker.

Until next time, I’m the Tech Talker, keeping technology simple!

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.


About the Author

Eric Escobar

Tech Talker demystifies technology and cutting edge devices so that even the most tech illiterate can understand what's going on with their computer or gadget — and what to do when something goes wrong.