The odds are very good that some of your personal information has been scooped up in the latest internet data breach.  

Russian hackers got passageway into over 400,000 websites and now have access to 1.2 billion usernames and passwords.  Compare that to the Target Stores fiasco, which compromised 40 million units.  Jessie Schmidt who manages the Sioux Falls Branch of the Better Business Bureau says it’s a huge haul for these criminals.  “When you think about the sheer numbers, that’s about the entire population of China.”

Schmidt says there’s more bad news.  Think about how many people utilize the same user names and passwords for multiple websites.  “(This data breach) could be much bigger.  Most of us use the same password for every website that we go to so we can keep them straight.”

Instead of putting faith in companies to safeguard our information, Schmidt says individuals need to take action.  “The onus is really on us to secure our own information as best we can.”   Suggested tips include changing passwords at certain intervals, different passwords for each site we use and using a strong password will help.  A strong password is a combination of letters, numbers and symbols.  Monitor your bank and credit card accounts frequently plus once per year take advantage of getting a free copy of your credit report.