Say you’re getting married. You and your partner have booked the venue, made the seating arrangements, trained your dog to be the ring bearer – and everything is running smoothly. You’ve used a trusty wedding planning website to make everything a breeze. Nothing could ruin this day for you! Except, there’s an uninvited guest. They’re not crashing the wedding and making an awkward toast, but they’ve crashed into your wedding planning website account and now have access to your information.
There are many things that could go wrong during wedding planning – some of them out of anyone’s control. Maybe the caterer canceled last minute, or the live band is stuck in traffic. Other things may be easily avoided, but you don’t necessarily see them coming. Like a hacker accessing your wedding website and making fraudulent bank transfers right before your big day.
The Wedding Crasher
Zola, a wedding planning site allowing couples to create websites, budgets, and gift registries, confirmed that hackers had managed to access the accounts of some of their users, The Verge reported. Once these accounts were infiltrated, hackers used the linked bank accounts or funds held inside the site to make cash transfers. The main method these cybercriminals used was purchasing gift cards through the user’s account and sending them to their email addresses to avoid being easily traced.
These criminals did not hack the Zola website itself but hacked their users’ accounts with a method called credential stuffing. This is a strategy where hackers take email and password combinations involved in previous breaches of other websites and use them to log into other online profiles.
You may not even know that your information had been breached previously and that cybercriminals now had your logins for a number of different accounts. Luckily, there are ways to protect yourself and your information from credential stuffing tactics to stop hackers in their tracks.
Tell Credential Stuffing to Go Stuff It
Just because you’ve hypothetically grown up and are ready for lifelong commitments doesn’t mean you’ve outgrown those old trusty email addresses and passwords (hello, “basketball4life23”). There’s a level of nostalgia that comes with using the email account that you made in middle school, or maybe you just haven’t gotten around to changing it. However, keeping those old email addresses and logins are doing you more harm than good. Want to make sure that hackers aren’t able to credential stuff your accounts? Here are some trusty tips to keep your information safe.
Track down and close old accounts
The best way to know that your old accounts aren’t coming back to haunt you is to make sure those ancient logins are dead and gone. If you don’t remember all the accounts you’ve made and no longer use, don’t sweat it! There are settings through your internet browser that will show you all the accounts and passwords you have saved. A password manager also keeps track of all your credentials, so you don’t have to wrack your brain to try and remember every account you’ve ever made. Once you’ve gone through all your old online accounts you no longer use, close them for good! Though this step will require some time and patience, it’s always better to put in the effort and know your information is safe than to risk it.
Create strong and unique passwords
Only having to remember one password for every account may make logging in easier, but ensuring that each of your accounts is unique and secure is worth the extra effort. Having a strong and unique password for each of your accounts helps protect them from credential stuffing and other threats. Varying your passwords across online accounts will assure you that if one of them is breached, the others will remain safe. A password manager can also help with this step, because many of them, such as True Key, can generate strong, random, and unique passwords for every account.
Update credentials when necessary
Keep an eye out to make sure that if a website or company you have an account with is breached, you are updating your credentials so that hackers can’t access them. If you see that there has been a hack and your information is vulnerable, immediately update your logins and passwords on that account to keep yourself safe.
Use multifactor authentication
Using multifactor authentication adds an extra layer of protection to your accounts. This safety measure requires more than one method of identity verification to access the account, helping to prevent criminals from gaining access to your password-protected information.
Don’t let cybercriminals get the jump on you! Take the necessary steps to protect your accounts and your personal information. Though combing through your old accounts and deleting them or coming up with a new and unique password for every site login isn’t a glamourous activity, you’ll enjoy greater peace of mind that your accounts are safe, leaving you free to enjoy life’s best moments.