Data theft and password jam

Date of publication

Currently, golem.de, among others, reports that over one billion access data have been published. It feels like data leaks are currently being exploited by the media without those affected feeling motivated to act.

Media exploitation of data leaks for ratings

The topic is being exploited more and more frequently in the media. It almost feels to me like a form of sensationalism that is satisfied by the readers and brings in quotas. In the first week, a current data leak is reported, in the second week there are a few stragglers and from the third week, when the powder is shot, there is room for the next sensation.

Much sensation and little insight and action

The flood of reports about data leaks last year alone must have reached the last corner of Germany and informed every citizen. Nevertheless, I have come to the conclusion that most citizens have done little or nothing to protect their data.

Lack of action due to excessive demands

Perhaps most users are simply overwhelmed with the task of protecting their data from access by unauthorised persons. Many ask themselves, what can I do to be safe? Or how can I find out whether the access data of my e-mail account has been compromised? In other words, whether they have been tapped or changed and thus represent a security risk.

First aid and basic information on passwords

Here's a little list for quick-timers who want to do better in 2019:

  • A first quick check via the website of security researcher Troy Hunt Perform Have I been pwned
  • Passwords at least 20 characters long, if possible with special characters, numbers and upper and lower case letters
  • Use two-factor authentication
  • Create a separate password for each online access
  • Use a password manager
  • Renew/change passwords regularly

Conclusion

Even though there are horror stories about data theft every day, the way users do things will not change much.

We've often heard the same thing: "I set up the password for my e-mail address 10 years ago and I know it by heart. I'll be damned if I'm going to change it now."

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DeepL is a deep learning company that develops AI systems for languages. The company, based in Cologne, Germany, was founded in 2009 as Linguee, and introduced the first internet search engine for translations. Linguee has answered over 10 billion queries from more than 1 billion users.

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Manfred Wöller

Manfred Wöller is a TÜV-certified data protection officer who makes data protection requirements technically feasible as part of the team. He is also a passionate vegan cook who takes care of the physical well-being at community events.