Is your login password 1234 or the name of one of your kids? If so, you are not alone. CBS News reported that 20 percent of Americans use the word “password” as their actual password. However, if you are one of these people, you should change it immediately. The National Cybersecurity Institute wrote that 1.2 billion “personal data accounts, passwords, and user names have been collected by these well sourced and expert hackers.” Those simple login phrases may be easier to remember, but they make you extremely susceptible to becoming one of the many affected by such cyberattacks. The Houston Astros learned this fact the hard way.
Hacking for revenge
In mid-June, a group of individuals employed by the St. Louis Cardinals’ front office hacked into the Houston Astros’ internal database. Their purpose was to steal vital player information from the opposing team, but their motivation was much more vindictive. The New York Times reported that the hackers’ intent was to despoil the reputations of either Jeff Luhnow or Sig Mejdal. Luhnow was a scouting executive for the Cardinals until 2011 when he accepted a general manager position with their National League rivals, the Astros. Mejdal, a sabermetrics analyst, also left the St. Louis-based team for Houston.
MLB executives strike out on cybersecurity awareness.
A common mistake
Through the Cardinals’ internal database, the hackers had access to the passwords Luhnow and Mejdal used when they were with the team. According to CBN News, neither man had changed his password after switching teams. Therefore, when the hackers applied the old passwords to the men’s Astros logins, they were given full access to confidential player data and recruiting information. These are statistics that cost teams a significant amount of time and financial resources to compile.
Luhnow and Mejdal aren’t the only high-level MLB employees who have made the mistake of overestimating the security of their passwords, however. One team executive claimed that he had not changed the login information to his team’s database in over three years, the Times reported.
Let the mistakes of these men be a lesson. Neglecting to change your password is a dangerous, potentially costly, blunder. If a hacker cracks the password to one of your accounts and discovers that you use the same password across other accounts, it’s three strikes you’re out. Password security is the first line of defense against preventable cyberattacks. Good rules of thumb are to change your passwords frequently and never reuse passwords from a former job or account.
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