When you hear people talking about your username and password they are usually telling you how to pick good ones. They want you to come up with a system that will make your password safe from being able to be guessed. But sometimes it is not your password that is the problem. It is the password of the web site that you are using your password on.
Sometimes a hacker will infiltrate a web site and it will not be for financial purposes. It will be for the purpose of causing mischief. They just want to be a pain to everyone else and so they will do pranks that can have undesired consequences. Sometimes a prank can include doing a dump.
What is a dump?
A dump is when you take the database contents of a web site that you just hacked and pour it out to the public. This has happened many times over the years to both small and big companies. A black hat hacker will be able to get into the system, look around, and dump out all of the information that is in there. A lot of times that information contains the names, addresses, email, username, and password of everyone who uses the site.
A lot of hackers frown on the practice of dumps because they feel that it harms too many innocent people and not just the target. But for the amount of hackers who frown on the practice you have an equal amount that just do not care. They like to cause havoc and they want to see people worried. You would think that this would all be teenagers playing a prank but you would be wrong. There are some grown hackers in their 50’s that play pranks like this. They do not make the hacker community look good in any way.
How to protect yourself
If this happens to you then you have very few options. The first thing that you should do is change everything. Your username and password on all of the web sites and email addresses that you visit should all be changed. The second thing that you should do is to run a credit report every few months. Your name and address is in the public domain and you want to make sure that no-one is taking advantage of that. And after that, if you still choose to use the same site, make sure that they have made improvements in their security.