HOUSTON - After a series of Ring security cameras were hijacked by unauthorized users, online security researchers have found thousands of user emails and passwords on websites designed to share stolen information. It's a stark reminder that we can do a lot more to protect ourselves.
The web-connected cameras are supposed to provide a sense of security. Instead, for some, they've become an unsettling intrusion as anonymous troublemakers exploit usernames and passwords from data-breaches, elsewhere, and match them with devices that use the same information.
High Tech Texan, Michael Garfield, says 'we' are often the weak link in protecting ourselves. "We are a lazy bunch of people," says Garfield, "It's very difficult to come up with a new password and to remember them, too."
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New digital security research seems to back him up. A two-year study by HYPR finds almost three-quarters of us use the same password for multiple accounts, and well over half use physical 'lists' to keep track of login credentials.
Rather than making it all so easy for potential thieves, Garfield echoes the advice, from the Ring stories, that each device and service needs a unique password that gets changed regularly.
Since remembering all that information is a real turnoff, for so many, he suggests using one of the many password manager apps that are available. They can store passwords, create new ones, and automatically log-on to accounts that have been linked to it. The only thing to remember is the password to get into the app. "It will save every single password that you have in your account, and it'll go up in the cloud so when you switch from your mobile device to your desktop or laptop: it'll help you remember your passwords, too," says Garfield.
The HYPR research found only 30% of people use a password manager, while the average person has more than two dozen passwords to remember. Anything that can strengthen that roadblock is a good idea.