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145 million eBay user accounts hacked: What lesson did we learn?

eBay was recently hacked

Let’s analyze what we should be careful about in the midst of the recent eBay hacking scandal. There are many lessons that can be learned from the incident about our privacy and security online.
(Photo : Brian Cantoni I Flickr)

As many of us have already found out, eBay was recently hacked while asking users to change their information and passwords. The question, however, is what we have learned from the incident and how such a large company specializing in online transactions was hacked this way.

What we should have gotten from the incident and many others within the last couple of years is that no company or network is really safe from hackers getting our data. Even with the best security precautions, it really is up to us to use multiple levels of security and changing our passwords periodically.

The other thing that stood out was that actual financial information and data wasn’t leaked during this incident or hacked. It was the more basic information such as our addresses and passwords. This is good and bad because although it shows anything can really be hacked, it also shows big-time companies, especially those who specialize in financial transactions and eCommerce, will encrypt financial data and rely on third-party services such as Paypal to make it secure.

Other large corporations and networks had a similar breach last fall, and there were various data breaches going around during the last couple of years such as the Heartbleed bug. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated and relying on new methods or ways to target companies and user data with their schemes.

When Heartbleed was analyzed, it was revealed that software, which at the time was designed to protect consumers from hacks and cyber criminals actually left passwords vulnerable for up to two years for data breaches. Various sites fixed the flaw, which included Dropbox, Facebook, Netflix and Flickr. However, the lesson clearly hasn’t totally been learned by large companies such as eBay or could never be fully overcome.

It is really up to us users to keep track of accounts on various networks and websites we are part of. We have to change our passwords periodically and make sure no one is using our accounts inappropriately. Experts warn that online privacy is really dying and companies can do a lot more for us. However, our own diligence is a must.

“The crux of the problem today is not even that your eBay password got compromised,” says Brian Gregory, president of Network Innovations Inc. in Olathe. “If you use the same login on your banking site, all of a sudden it is a big deal.”

That is why we should be more picky in terms of what websites we use that we enter our financial data into. Paypal is a website and company many have relied on for years and proved somewhat trustworthy in terms of not being part of the recent eBay breach. There are many others that over the years proved they focus on consumers rather than just their bottom line.

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