Facebook revealed last week that its platform mistakenly kept a copy of passwords for “hundreds of millions” users in plaintext. If you are one of the affected users, your Facebook and Instagram password was readable to some of the Facebook engineers who have internal access to the servers and the database. As of now, Facebook says that no one outside of their company had access to these passwords, and that there was no abuse internally by Facebook staff members.
This leads to another issue that people need to be aware of – the problem of reusing the same password on multiple sites. For example, is your Facebook password also your email password? If one of the sites is compromised, all of your sites are compromised. Hackers are buying compromised user data online on hacker websites, and either trying those login credentials at other sites, or they are attempting to blackmail users via a scam email. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that everyone use unique passwords on every website, but remembering all of those passwords is virtually impossible. A very good solution is to use a password manager program.
There are numerous password manager programs available. Most have you remember one password, then keep the others locked away in a password “vault”. Some keep the password “vault” file on your device locally, others are cloud based which allows them to be used on multiple devices. I looked for one that was easy to use, worked on multiple operating systems (Windows, Android, Apple iOS), had positive reviews, and had a good free version as well as a premium version. I have been using LastPass for a few weeks now, and have installed it for several people. I have received positive feedback from those who have been using it.