Cyber criminals release 1.4 billion users’ hacked records

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Account information including user names and passwords stolen in 250 separate data breaches have been aggregated by cyber criminals and stored in a searchable online database of more than 1.4 billion records.

While this isn’t the first time cyber criminals have pulled together information from separate data breaches, it is by far the largest known database of stolen user records stored in one place in a format that is easily searchable.

You may not feel at threat, but if your information is among the 1.4 billion records (I know mine is), then there is a chance you will be targeted in the future by cybercriminals based on previous behaviour. For example, if your data is caught up in data breaches three years apart and you change your password from HawksPremiers2013 to HawksPremiers2014 to HawksPremiers2015, you will most certainly be an easy target.

To check if one of your online accounts has been hacked, visit free web security site haveibeenpwned.com.

The concern security experts have with a database of this size is the implications for targeted hacking. Humans rarely change their habits, so a password from an old database hack in 2014 combined with current social media posts can point hackers in the right direction to guess the updated password.

The new year is the perfect time to review and address any security flaws in your passwords used online. Always start by making your email address the hardest password to crack and ensure you never use it for any other website, as hackers can easily reset passwords to websites when they gain access to your email address.

Do you have a growing concern with the lack of security offered by through password-only verification? Companies such as Google have started two-step verification processes through phone verification. Do you believe this should become best practice for websites that use your credit card information?

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Written by Drew

Starting out as a week of work experience in 2005 while studying his Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University, Drew has never left his post and has been with the company ever since, working on the websites digital needs. Drew has a passion for all things technology which is only rivalled for his love of all things sport (watching, not playing).
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18 Comments

Total Comments: 18
  1. 0
    0

    Just a word of warning, you may have seen ads on the tv lately re finding out what your credit score is, I was in the UK two years ago and similar ads were on tv, it turns out that this company was selling your information to scammers, heaps of people got caught and lots of people lost money/and some had their identity compromised, I don’t know if this is the same or a similar company, but I would steer well clear, usually anyone offering to save you money at no cost to you usually has an ulterior motive, their intent may not always be nefarious but why take the chance, lots of people are just curious about records that are related to their finances that might be out there and that is what scammers rely on.

  2. 0
    0

    It is harder older folk t remember pass word emails therefore they are easily targeted. Pin numbers are a good option,

    • 0
      0

      I used to use the number plate of a car down the road. I figured if he sold the car I would be in trouble however he still has the number plates and there have been so many security breaches in that time that password went a long time ago!

  3. 0
    0

    “Always start by making your email address the hardest password to crack” Have you noticed that Apple rather likes your email open? – and the others do too. So when yahoo had a breach they notified people on login but most people didn’t know about it because they are permanently logged in.
    The most difficult password should be your computer and device login and it should not be used anywhere else just like the bank passwords and different emails.
    The two step verification is a good idea. However if you use your phone for everything I would make sure it has a security pin, a find my phone alert and you phone your provider to shut it down ASAP if the phone is stolen.
    The weakest link is the email as its so easy with “forgot your password” for most businesses and then they just send another one. Why bother with a password at all?

  4. 0
    0

    And we were told that computers were going to make life a whole lot easier? Baah, ha, ha, ha, ha. Never has life been so complicated!

  5. 0
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    Avast antivirus offer a Password Manager
    Anybody have any experience with it ?

  6. 0
    0

    Fruit becomes ripe and then goes rotten, so do ‘some’ people for ‘who knows’ reason.
    Hackers are such ‘rotten’ gone rotten people, and should therefore be hacked themselves.
    Hand me my machete :-)))

  7. 0
    0

    Not sure what the answer is. I have a long password which is a mixture of upper case, lower case, numbers and symbols. I hate two step verification where you have to put in the name of your first dog, street, school etc. I always forget whether I used caps or not

  8. 0
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    Scary stuff. But all the %^&$@# passwords one has to remember nowadays is very tiresome.

  9. 0
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    You all should only open and read email from people on your address book …. any other mail should be considered Junk and if you open the mail chances are you get Zap ……
    Even if you think that may be real ….. do not open it …I get about 10 x day about all kind of offers and suggestions ….. if they are not on my book I trash them and use the block option on the mail program …. also be sure you have virus protection program ….

  10. 0
    0

    A suggestion for strong and easy to remember password…..

    1 – Your initials (2, 3 or 4) including all your names and surnames for example if your name is John Hacker Prentice Wilson then use Jhpw for the initials
    2 – follow by your birthday in reverse for example if you born on the 15 of August 1945 use 450815 or if you want just DD and MM or MM and YY but I suggest always use at least 4 digits for the algorithms to be difficult to break (The more digits the better)
    3 – Add underscore (Not a dash) – (Underscore is next to the zero and on top of the dash – use Shift + dash to get the underscore
    4 – Follow by a number starting with 1 or 01 or 001 want ever you like

    So your password will be Jjpw450815_001

    You always remember your birthday and of course your names so is easy to remember and this password is very strong and very difficult to break

    You can change the order if you want like this 450815Jhpw_001 or _001Jhpw450815

    All this will depend on the company that receive your password sometimes they only accept letters first

    Please note that underscore is a valid character for a computer and is not consider special character like *&^%$ any of this.

    Maybe this help to have a password easy to remember also all you have to do is change the number 001 for 002, 003, and 004???? When changes are required.

    In summary any combination of what you always remember including

    1 Capital letter
    2 Low case letter
    3 Numbers
    4 Underscore or special character if accepted

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