Connect with us


Microsoft’s latest data on hacks and why you may need new login, passwords fast

Source image:

If you’ve had a password hacked recently, you aren’t alone.

The volume of password attacks has soared to an estimated 921 attacks every second. That’s a 74% rise in one year, according to the latest Microsoft Digital Defense Report. 

Big technology firms including Microsoft would prefer the world of passwords is eradicated, and they’ve been making changes for an online future that is less reliant on the vulnerable security step.

Microsoft users can already securely gain access to Windows, Xbox, and Microsoft 365 without using a password through apps like Microsoft Authenticator, and technologies including fingerprints or facial recognition. But many people still rely on passwords, and don’t even use the two-factor authentication now considered critical.

“As long as passwords are still part of the equation, they’re vulnerable,” Joy Chik, Microsoft’s vice president of identity, wrote in a September 2021 company blog post.

Here are six ways to stay protected. 

Change identical user names, passwords fast, and first, on key accounts

For ease, many people use the same username and password across accounts, but it also puts them at significant risk of having their information compromised. Based on a sample of more than 39 million IoT and OT devices, about 20% used identical usernames and passwords, according to the Microsoft report.

If you fall into this category, it’s time to take action. Start by focusing on the biggest risks first — email, financial, health care and social media sites, said Chris Pierson, founder and chief executive of BlackCloak, a cybersecurity company that specializes in preventing targeted attacks on company employees and executives.

Telling a person who has many identical website logins and passwords to change them all at once is akin to advising someone to lose 50 pounds by running 20 miles a day and going cold turkey on sweets, he said. A more manageable starting recommendation would be a once-a-day 15-minute walk around the block and small dietary changes. The same is true when it comes to password protection, Pierson said. “Don’t change every single password you have. Focus on the highest risk, highest damage accounts.”

Use a password manager to encrypt your data

To keep track of passwords safely and efficiently, security professionals recommend using a secure password manager such as 1Password or KeePass. The user only has to remember one long strong password and the manager stores the others in an encrypted format. Password managers can also be used to generate secure, random passwords, which are exceedingly difficult to crack. Even though it requires relying on a third party, password managers generally do a good job of protecting customer data, said Justin Cappos, an associate professor at NYU Tandon School of Engineering whose focus includes cybersecurity and data privacy. 

Choose strong passwords if you won’t use random generation

While randomly generated passwords are a best practice, not everyone likes using them, so at least make sure you’re using credentials that can’t easily be hacked. You might, for instance, string together four random words like sun, water, computer and chair for one account, and use another set of four words for a different account, said Roy Zur, founder and chief executive at cybersecurity training company ThriveDX. 

Using the phrase “moneycashcheckbank” for instance would take a computer about 23 million years to crack, according to a website maintained by, which reviews safety products. By contrast, the password “jesus” could be cracked instantly, while the same word with a capital “J” could be cracked in about 9 milliseconds, according to the website. 

Enable multi-factor authentication 

Some services such as Apple Pay mandate this extra layer of security for accounts. Even if a provider doesn’t require it to be used, multi-factor authentication is a valuable security tool that’s underutilized, according to security professionals.

The idea behind multi-factor authentication — which requires two or more pieces of identifying information — is to make it harder for criminals to infiltrate your accounts. Hackers target the weakest link “and your role is not to be the weakest link,” Zur said.

For these purposes, it’s advisable to use an app such as Google Authenticator or a hardware token like a YubiKey, instead of SMS, whenever possible, Cappos said. That’s because SMS is vulnerable to SIM swapping and other hacks. “It’s not difficult for a motivated hacker to get around SMS,” he said.

Google Voice e-commerce scam shows why you should never share a password

This is a problem that happens all too often, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center’s 2022 Business Impact Report. When asked about the root cause of an account takeover, 45% of companies said someone clicked on a phishing link or shared account credentials with someone who claimed to be a friend; 29% said someone shared account credentials with a hacker claiming to be a potential customer, vendor or prospect. 

“Passwords are like gum. People shouldn’t share,” Cappos said.

Likewise, never give out a one-time code — even when scammers make the reason for sharing seem legitimate, said Eva Velasquez, president and chief executive of the Identity Theft Resource Center.

One increasingly common scam is where fraudsters pose as interested buyers on online marketplaces. They direct a seller to read off a one-time code allegedly sent by the buyer, often for the stated purpose of “verifying the seller’s identity and legitimacy” which reels victims in, Velasquez said. In reality, it’s a way for hackers to create a Google Voice account tied to the seller’s phone number. This allows scammers to perpetrate other scams using a Google Voice number that can’t be traced back to them, she said. The fraud has become so prominent that ITRC created an instructional video on how affected consumers can reclaim their number.

Apple or Microsoft contact you? It probably wasn’t them

In addition to having passwords or other sensitive information compromised by clicking on seemingly legitimate links in their email, texts or social media, people also tend to fall hard for tech support scams based on computer pop-ups or phone calls. Hackers may pretend to be from reputable companies such as Apple or Microsoft and offer to help with a security issue they’ve allegedly identified. Consumers get duped into allowing unfettered access to their computer, setting in motion the potential for thieves to steal their passwords and other personal data or insist on payment for bogus services rendered, Pierson said.

Remember, reputable companies don’t randomly contact consumers and offer to help with computer-related issues. Pierson said consumers shouldn’t engage with someone unfamiliar who reaches out, especially if that person’s information isn’t verifiable through independent and reliable means. “Googling a phone number is simply not something that we would advise either,” he said.


Continue Reading


Two children and two adults survive after Tesla plunges 250 feet off California cliff

View from the helicopter during a rescue operation after a vehicle carrying two adults and two children went over a cliff in Devil’s Slide, San Mateo county, California, U.S., January 2, 2023, plunging hundreds of feet, according to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, in this still image obtained from social media video.

CHP – Golden Gate Division | Reuters

Two adults and two children were rescued from a Tesla that plunged 250 feet off a cliff Monday morning in San Mateo County, California, officials said. 

The car was traveling southbound on the Pacific Coast Highway when it went over the cliff at Devil’s Slide, south of the Tom Lantos tunnel, and landed near the water’s edge below, the Cal Fire San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit said. 

The car flipped and landed on its wheels in the fall, CAL FIRE/Coastside Fire Incident Commander Brian Pottenger said. Witnesses saw the accident and called 911. 

As crews were lowered down, they were able to see movement in the front seat, through their binoculars, meaning someone was alive.

“We were actually very shocked when we found survivable victims in the vehicle. So, that actually was a really hopeful moment for us,” Pottenger said. 

Fire officials called for helicopters to help hoist the survivors to safety. As they waited, firefighters rappelled to the scene and rescued the two children.

Rescue teams are seen at the scene as a Tesla with four occupants plunged over a cliff on Pacific Coast Highway 1 at Devils Slide on January 2, 2022 in San Mateo County, California, United States.

Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The California Highway Patrol shared video on social media showing helicopters lower first responders to the scene to extricate and rescue two adults inside. 

All four were hospitalized. The San Mateo Sheriff’s Office said the two adults suffered non-life-threatening injuries and the two children were unharmed.

It’s not clear what caused the car to go over the cliff. CHP is handling the investigation. 

Continue Reading


Tesla shares tumble more than 10% following deliveries report

Tesla vehicles are shown at a sales and service center in Vista, California, June 3, 2022.

Mike Blake | Reuters

Shares of Tesla dropped 13% on Tuesday morning, a day after the electric auto maker reported fourth-quarter vehicle production and delivery numbers for 2022.

Deliveries are the closest approximation of sales disclosed by Tesla. The company reported 405,278 total deliveries for the quarter and 1.31 million total deliveries for the year. These numbers represented a record for the Elon Musk-led automaker and growth of 40% in deliveries year over year, but they fell shy of analysts’ expectations.

related investing news

Some analysts see a buying opportunity in Tesla for 2023 despite persistent demand pressures


According to a consensus of analysts’ estimates compiled by FactSet, as of Dec. 31, 2022, Wall Street was expecting Tesla to report around 427,000 deliveries for the final quarter of the year. Estimates updated in December, and included in the FactSet consensus, ranged from 409,000 to 433,000.

Those more recent estimates were in line with a company-compiled consensus distributed by Tesla investor relations Vice President Martin Viecha. 

Some Wall Street analysts think Tesla’s deliveries miss spells trouble for the electric vehicle maker, but others see a buying opportunity for the company in 2023.

Baird analyst Ben Kallo, who recently named Tesla a top pick for 2023, maintained an outperform rating and said he would remain a buyer of the stock ahead of the company’s earnings report, which is scheduled for Jan. 25.

“Q4 deliveries missed consensus but beat our estimates,” he said in a Tuesday note. “Importantly, production increased ~20% q/q which we expect to continue into 2023 as gigafactories in Berlin and Austin continue to ramp.”

Analysts at Goldman Sachs said they consider the delivery report to be an “incremental negative,” and view Tesla as a company that is “well positioned for long-term growth.” Goldman reiterated its buy rating on the stock in a Monday note and said that making vehicles more affordable in a challenging macroeconomic environment will be a “key driver of growth.”

“We believe key debates from here will be on whether vehicle deliveries can reaccelerate, margins and Tesla’s brand,” the analysts said.

Shares of Tesla suffered an extreme yearlong sell-off in 2022, prompting CEO Musk to tell employees in late December not to be “too bothered by stock market craziness.”

Musk has blamed Tesla’s declining share price in part on rising interest rates. But critics point to his rocky $44 billion Twitter takeover as a bigger culprit for the slide.

Morgan Stanley analysts said they think the company’s share price weakness is a “window of opportunity to buy.”

“Between a worsening macro backdrop, record high unaffordability, and increasing competition, there are hurdles for all auto companies to overcome in the year ahead,” they said in a note Tuesday. “However, within this backdrop we believe TSLA has the potential to widen its lead in the EV race, as it leverages its cost and scale advantages to further itself from the competition.”

CNBC’s Lora Kolodny and Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

Continue Reading


Tesla makes China boss Tom Zhu its highest-profile executive after Elon Musk

Tom Zhu Xiaotong, Tesla’s current executive in charge of China, speaks as a new Tesla experience store opens on Aug. 18, 2015 in Hangzhou, China.

Visual China Group | Getty Images

Tesla’s China chief Tom Zhu has been promoted to take direct oversight of the electric carmaker’s U.S. assembly plants as well as sales operations in North America and Europe, according to an internal posting of reporting lines reviewed by Reuters.

The Tesla posting showed that Zhu’s title of vice president for Greater China had not changed and that he also retained his responsibilities as Tesla’s most senior executive for sales in the rest of Asia as of Tuesday.

The move makes Zhu the highest-profile executive at Tesla after Chief Executive Elon Musk, with direct oversight for deliveries in all of its major markets and operations of its key production hubs.

The reporting lines for Zhu would keep Tesla’s vehicle design and development — both areas where Musk has been heavily involved — separate while creating an apparent deputy to Musk on the more near-term challenges of managing global sales and output.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Reuters reviewed the organizational chart that had been posted internally by Tesla and confirmed the change with two people who had seen it. They asked not to be named because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

Elon Musk needs to go back to Tesla and have others run Twitter, says Jim Cramer

Zhu and a team of his reports were brought in by Tesla late last year to troubleshoot production issues in the United States, driving an expectation among his colleagues then that he was being groomed for a bigger role.

Zhu’s appointment to a global role comes at a time when Musk has been distracted by his acquisition of Twitter and Tesla analysts and investors have urged action that would deepen the senior executive bench and allow him to focus on Tesla.

Under Zhu, Tesla’s Shanghai plant rebounded strongly from Covid lockdowns in China.

Tesla said on Monday that it had delivered 405,278 vehicles in the fourth quarter, short of Wall Street estimates, according to data compiled by Refinitiv.

The company had delivered 308,600 vehicles in the same period a year earlier.

The Tesla managers reporting to Zhu include: Jason Shawhan, director of manufacturing at the Gigafactory in Texas; Hrushikesh Sagar, senior director of manufacturing at Tesla’s Fremont factory; Joe Ward, vice president in charge of Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and Troy Jones, vice president of North America sales and service, according to the Tesla notice on reporting lines reviewed by Reuters.

Tesla country managers in China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand continued to report to Zhu, the notice showed.

Zhu does not have a direct report at Tesla’s still-ramping Berlin plant, but a person with knowledge of the matter said responsibility for that operation would come with the reporting line for Amsterdam-based Ward. Ward could not be immediately reached for comment.

Zhu, who was born in China but now holds a New Zealand passport, joined Tesla in 2014. Before that he was a project manager at a company established by his MBA classmates at Duke University, advising Chinese contractors working on infrastructure projects in Africa.

During Shanghai’s two-month Covid lockdown, Zhu was among the first batch of employees sleeping in the factory as they sought to keep it running, people who work with him have said.

Zhu, a no-fuss manager who sports a buzz cut, favors Tesla-branded fleece jackets and has lived in a government-subsidized apartment that is a 10-minute drive from the Shanghai Gigafactory. It was not immediately clear whether he would move after his promotion.

He takes charge of Tesla’s main production hubs at a time when the company is readying the launch of Cybertruck and a revamped version of its Model 3 sedan. Tesla has also said it is developing a cheaper electric vehicle but has not provided details on that plan.

When Tesla posted a picture on Twitter last month to celebrate its Austin, Texas, plant hitting a production milestone for its Model Y, Zhu was among hundreds of workers smiling on the factory floor.

Why China is beating the U.S. in electric vehicles

Allan Wang, who was promoted to vice president in charge of sales in China in July, was listed as the legal representative for the operation in registration papers filed with Chinese regulators in a change by the company last month.

Tesla board member James Murdoch said in November the company had recently identified a potential successor to Musk without naming the person. Murdoch did not respond to a request for comment.

Electrek previously reported that Zhu would take responsibility for U.S. sales, delivery and service.

Continue Reading