Once again, there has been another inglorious hack of government servers and services, here in Canada. This recent event happened last week, when hackers managed to use verified clients credentials to login and, present themselves as real people for the purpose of claiming the new unemployment benefit.
How long they had been doing this, and just how many people were actually hacked, we won’t know for a few weeks at least. Though the government shut down the entire system this weekend in an effort to stop anyone logging in and perpetrating the fraud further.
How did all this happen?
Well, let me tell you. Laziness. It starts with people using the same login in password and username for everything they do online and, then, when creating a profile and account login for an important government service, what do they do? They still use the same password and username. All this despite the fact they tell you when creating an account NOT to do this.
Back to, people are lazy.
So then, hackers raid somewhere like google mail, or facebook, or another easy target to get account data. Specifically, usernames and passwords. They then send out bots searching the internet to see if these same login details will access other websites and important service, like your PayPal account and, yes, government websites.
They can then legitimately login to your account without suspicion, and change your username and password and or divert money. Or, as in with the CERB payments, making fraudulent claims under Your name, using YOUR details, but having changed your address or payment method to something else. And suddenly You find you’re on the hook for thousands of dollars.
So please, please, PLEASE! Do not use the same username and password for everything, especially for your bank, online services, or anything involving money and payment. It’s a lot more complicated for a hacker to get your unique password and login information if it’s in a little black book, locked in your computer desk drawer, than it is from Google or Facebook.
This PSA is brought to you by the letters A and W, and on behalf of those of us who anally create complicated usernames and passwords.
Your friendly neighbourhood nag.