A cyber breach impacting more than 420,000 websites netted 1.2 billion unique usernames and passwords and 542 million distinct email addresses. The Russian hacker ring responsible for stealing these electronic credentials targeted both small websites and well-known entities — names of which have yet to be revealed.
The breach was discovered by Hold Security of Milwaukee and announced Tuesday, August 5. Security experts, including the firm’s founder and chief information officer Alex Holden, said this breach could be the largest collection of electronic personal information ever stolen.
What does this mean to your personal identity?
The combination of a password and username gives these cybercriminals access to the related Web accounts. Once signed into an account, the hackers can obtain personal information associated with the account. Such information enables the cybercriminals to commit fraud and identity theft.
“A compromise on your email can easily lead to a compromise to a credit card or bank account, even if those latter service accounts are adequately secured,” said Eugene Bekker, Chief Security Officer at EZShield Fraud Protection.
What should you do?
- Take advantage of a reputable online password manager (such as EZShield Secure Online Wallet, which is included with EZShield basic protection) to keep track of your Internet accounts and their respective passwords and usernames. A secure password manager also provides critical backup to remind you of your online accounts so you can easily update the necessary passwords.
- Create new usernames and passwords for all of your important online accounts.
Follow these secure password tips:
• Use a unique password for each account – essential for bank & financial accounts
• Use a minimum of eight characters
• Do not include dictionary words
• Use uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and special characters
• Get more tips from Microsoft
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of EZShield Inc. alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other person or entity, including specifically any person or entity affiliated with the distribution or display of this content.