Will Changing Your Password Protect You?

In the past fortnight, two of the world’s largest user-focused companies have had major cyber security breaches, and have urged users to change their passwords to protect their devices, accounts and identities. However, there’s more to being safe online.

Last week, many Apple devices were hacked and their users locked out by the hackers, who demanded payments of $100 and more to unlock the devices.

Though eBay was hacked months ago, the security breach was only recently discovered. Users were warned to change their passwords after the hackers gained access to the personal information of 145 million users. eBay assures its customers that no financial data was stolen, however it is unsure how many of its users’ personal details were stolen – but it’s likely to be many. The information stolen included users’ names, dates of birth, email addresses, physical addresses and telephone numbers – everything an identity thief would need. If you’re a regular eBay user and are worried about identity theft, a private investigator can assess your cyber security and discover whether your identity has been compromised. A private investigator can also show you where other information security risks may arise, especially involving computer security, mobile phones and other devices.

The key here is that the two cyber security breaches we’ve seen recently call for different responses, and there’s no simple solution. We’re told, “Change your passwords!” But will that properly protect us?

A cloud technology expert warns that changing your password isn’t enough. He highlighted the problem that across different devices, the information security risks are different.

On your computer, if malware has been installed without your knowledge, there could be a keylogger spying on everything you type – which means that new passwords will be automatically recorded by the malware. To protect against this, install good anti-malware and keep your anti-virus up-to-date. If you’re unsure about your computer security, have a professional check for malware and undertake spyware removal. Elite Investigations’ private investigators can help with this. In the technological world, personal security goes far beyond the physical, and a private investigator can discover how safe you are online, on your computer and on your phone.

Mobile phones present another set of concerns. While having your phone password protected could stop a casual thief, it won’t keep out hackers.

“The exponential rise and usage of mobile applications is almost immeasurable. However, it also comes at a tremendous cost, according to a recent Juniper Report, mobile malware has skyrocketed 614% from March 2012 thru March 2013, and it looks as if it’s only going to continue beyond our imagination,” says the CEO of cyber security firm StrikeForce.

In the Apple cyber security breach, users who had activated a passcode on their devices were protected from the lockout created by the hackers. If you’re unsure how to do this, take your phone to your provider and get their help to set up efficient security software and anti-malware. They can also make sure there’s no spyware such as a keylogger on your device. It’s worth spending some money to secure your device, especially if you use your phone for online banking. Even setting your email app to ‘remember password’ means your phone can give away important personal data.

Once you’ve had a professional check for spyware and install anti-malware, make sure to learn how to keep the anti-malware up-to-date. You don’t have to understand how it works, just how to keep it working.

So, the take home message: changing your password will not protect you from malware like a keylogger and other forms of hacking! Your information security may be compromised, and you could be at risk of identity theft and scamming. Following the instructions above will help you make sure you’re cyber secure.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles,