In case you missed the news at the beginning of this month, in early August, a Russian crime ring collected the largest known cluster of Internet credentials to date, which included 1.2 billion user name and password combos and more than 500 million email addresses in a mega-security breach. Milwaukee’s Hold Security discovered the violation and says the security breach affected several large businesses, but was unable to share the names of those affected due to nondisclosure agreements and victim security. The hackers cast a wide net, going after large and small business websites alike in countries around the globe—including the United States and Russia. According to an August 5 New York Times article, it appears the hackers haven’t sold much of the data, but are instead using this hacked info to send spam through social media sites, like Twitter for a fee. This article identifies the hacking ring as a small group of less than a dozen men in their 20s, based in south central Russia.
While it’s always troubling to hear news like this, don’t panic. Instead, tighten your Internet security measures. Ensure that you’re using strong passwords and that you’re utilizing different passwords on different websites. If you know you’re guilty of being lax with your passwords (or use the same ones on multiple sites), updating them to stronger passwords is a good idea. You may also want to check out one of the automated password changing services out there, like this free one, to ensure you’re keeping hackers on their toes.