Yahoo Mail accounts hacked; how to protect yourself

7:20 AM, Jan 31, 2014   |    comments
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There's another big breach of Internet security you need to know about. Everyone should hear this, but it really affects you if you have one of the 81 million Yahoo Mail accounts in America. 

Yahoo is saying this was a coordinated attack by hackers. They used a stolen list of usernames and passwords from Yahoo Mail accounts.

STORY: Yahoo discloses attack attempt on mail accounts

Then they went into those accounts and apparently collected the email addresses and real names of the people users recently sent messages to.

What can a hacker do with that information? They can send scam messages to your contacts. Using someone's real name makes them much more likely to open that evil email.

A hacker could also get into your financial accounts this way, using one of two options.

First , a lot of people use the same password on their email and their banking sites. Of course, that's a bad idea.

But also, hackers could ask your financial site to send a password reminder message to your Yahoo Mail account -- and boom, they're in.

How can you keep this from happening to you?

- Change your password often.

- Use a mix of words, numbers, and symbols in your passwords.

- Don't use the same password on several sites, especially sites with sensitive things like banking, shopping, and email.

Can't keep track of a ton of passwords? There are services called "password vaults" like LastPass.

You have one super-secret, super-secure password. Enter that, and it then opens up a list of all of your other passwords for your other accounts.

Yahoo has not released how many accounts were hacked. They do say if your account was hacked, Yahoo will make you change your password the next time you log in.

Grayson Kamm, 10 News

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