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      Protecting yourself online after massive Russian hacker breach

      I<font size="2" face="Arial"> <font size="2" face="Arial">n the wake of a published report claiming Russian hackers have <a href="/news/story.aspx?id=1079935">stolen 1.2 billion user names and passwords</a> from 420,000 websites, Ohio's attorney general is offering tips on how to stay safe online.</font> </font>

      COLUMBUS, Ohio - I n the wake of a published report claiming Russian hackers have stolen 1.2 billion user names and passwords from 420,000 websites, Ohio's attorney general is offering tips on how to stay safe online.

      "When a security breach is announced, it is a good reminder to take steps to protect your personal information," Attorney General DeWine said. "Even if you don't know whether or not you have been directly affected, take common-sense steps to protect yourself. A good place to start is by changing your passwords and carefully monitoring your accounts."

      DeWine encourages all online users to change their passwords and monitor accounts following the news that Russian recently hacked their way into hundreds of thousands of website, helping themselves to more than a billion user IDs and passwords.

      Attorney General DeWine offered consumers the following tips: If you have online accounts, change your passwords. If you have used the same password for multiple accounts, consider changing those passwords as well. Choose a different password for each of your online accounts. Create passwords that are long and complex, using a variety of numbers, letters, and characters. Rather than choosing a word, consider picking a familiar phrase and using the first letter of each word, followed by a random number. For example, you could use the phrase "My dog's name is Brutus!" and choose the password, "MdniB!579." Change your passwords often. Don't store passwords or account username reminders on smartphones or computers. This personal information could be compromised by a computer virus. Beware of possible scams related to the breach. For example, watch out for email or text messages that instruct you to click on a link to "change your password." Some scammers may use the announcement as ploy to get you to click on malicious links. Monitor your financial accounts, email accounts, and mail for signs of identity theft, such as unexpected bills or credit report errors.