Recently, food-tech company Zomato suffered a security breach where 17 million user records were stolen, including email addresses and passwords. Such hacking incidents can have wider consequences, including, in the gravest of scenarios, financial losses. They emphasise the need for people to adopt newer protection mechanisms, such as password managers.
In Zomato’s case, the passwords are said to be hashed, which means they were converted into unintelligible characters. However, experts say that depending on the hashing protocol used, hashes can be re-engineered to generate the password.
The hacking of one account can have wider ramifications. “By hacking one account, hackers get access to your email ID and password. To save themselves the bother of remembering many passwords, users often use the same password in all their accounts. So, the hackers get access to your email and other accounts. Sometimes, they use your email account to reset the passwords in your other accounts,” explains Shomiron Das Gupta of
NetMonastery, a threat management provider. He adds that people often store sensitive information, including their net banking and credit card numbers and passwords within their email accounts. Also, on a website like Amazon, you can only view the last four digits of your credit card number. Other websites may not blur this information, in which case hackers would get access to this and other sensitive information.