Nightly News | November 20, 2012
>>> as we mentioned, we're taking an indepth look tonight at computer security . who's involved in an e-mail scandal that's already cost the head of the cia his job. can you rely on personal passwords to protect secrets in the computer. there will have been more than one billion hacking attempts by the time 2012 is out. even as the hackers are gettinging better, password protection is not. our report tonight from nbc's tom costello.
>> reporter: the evil geniuses who hacked into nancy's online accounts, deleted everything, even changed the name of her pet and sent out e-mails asking for cash.
>> they had sent out more than 10,000 e-mails. anyone i had ever interacted with, since the day i had e-mail received an e-mail, a desperate plea for money.
>> reporter: she admits she made the most common mistake, all of her passwords were the same. too many of us are using the same user name over and over again. the most commonly used password is password. or 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or let me in. how hard would it be for a hacker who is already in to get deeper into your online life.
>> don't use your pet's name, high school mascot.
>> reporter: the more your social media accounts are linked the easier for someone to learn about you to guess at credit card and other passwords. the senior writer for wire admits even his 19 character password couldn't stand up to hackers. they deleted everything and set up a different password.
>> when they're inside your e-ma e-mail, they're inside your bank, they can clean out your bank.
>> to guard against that, experts suggest setting mult itch el layers of i.d. request authentications -- give fake answers or answers that no one could ever find anywhere online.
>> for the most critical passwords in your life. bank accounts , you want to change it every 60 to 90 days .
>> the ultimate password technology uses typing rhythm or iris scans. that's only used for the most secure systems.
>> it makes me feel violated, especially when money is involved.
>> reporter: as most of us use decades old password technology against 20th century criminals.