Data breach causes expert to encourage password changes

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A local expert in information technology is urging people to change their passwords after a cyber-security firm released details of what’s being called the largest-known security breach.

Experts say a gang of Russian hackers has collected 1.2 billion people’s username and password combinations. IPFW spokesperson John Kaufeld has a background in information technology. He explains in this latest data breach, it’s unclear what the hackers have and what they plan to do with the collected information.

“We don’t know exactly what condition the data’s in,” he said. “We don’t know if they got just plain text passwords, or if they got encrypted passwords, we don’t know that.”

Since it’s unclear what information the hackers may have, Kaufeld said people should assume they’ve been hacked and change their passwords. He said using uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters doesn’t provide a more secured password. He recommends longer passwords such as phrases with some numbers.

“The more length we put onto a password, every extra letter just adds another huge amount of computing that they have to do in order to break the password,” Kaufeld said.

Michael Buchanan said he heard of the security breach and will be changing his passwords.

“I’ll definitely change that,” said Buchanan. “That’s like personal information that you don’t want others to have a hold of. So, that’s something serious to me.”

Kodi Mullins isn’t too concern over the data breach.

“I probably won’t go changing my passwords just yet. If I were to go and change my password at any sign of people having it them, I’ll be changing them every day,” Mullins said.

Experts said there are apps out there that can help you keep track of your passwords. Experts recommend changing your passwords at least once a month.

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