Federal authorities are investigating an apparent breach of some of Yahoo Mail’s 273 million user accounts. Yahoo is urging users to change their passwords, but experts recommend going even further to protect personal data. Mekahlo Medina reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Jan. 31, 2014.
Usernames and passwords of some of Yahoo's email customers have been stolen and used to gather personal information about people those Yahoo mail users have recently corresponded with, the company said this week.
Yahoo is the second-largest email service worldwide, after Google's Gmail, according to the research firm comScore. There are 273 million Yahoo mail accounts worldwide, including 81 million in the U.S.
It's the latest in a string of security breaches that have allowed hackers to nab personal information using software that analysts say is ever more sophisticated.
But there is a way to better protect your personal information online.
Here are five password generators users can use to get a stronger password:
1. Random Password Generator
A clean and simple service, Random.org will help you generate up to 100 passwords between six and 24 characters in length.
2. PC Tools Password Generator by Symantec
Symantec's boasts "random passwords that are highly secure and extremely difficult to crack or guess due to an optional combination of lower and upper case letters, numbers and punctuation symbols.
3. Strong Password Generator
The Strong Password Generator will create a password, with or without punctuation, up to 100 characters in length.
4. Norton Identity Safe Password Generator
Norton's free tool lets you include mixed case letters, numbers and punctuation, and has the option to include no similar characters for extra security.
5. Free Password Generator
Free Password Generator lets you decide between string letters, capital letters, digits and special symbols before entering the length you want.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.