Data breach compromises 773 million records, 21 million passwords

A given aspect of digital life is learning how to deal with situations in which you data becomes compromised; this is a fact that many individuals will have to deal with after the discovery of a data breach containing more than 773 million records. Discovered by security research and owner of Have I Been Pwned, Troy Hunt, the assemblage of documents is known as Collection No. 1 after it was found publically available online.

According to Hunt, the existence of Collection No. 1 was brought to his attention after multiple individuals reached out alerting him to its presence on the cloud storage site, Mega. When available, the massive gathering of data was spread across 12,000 separate folders and left a footprint of 87GB. Even after Mega had removed the data from its servers, another one of Hunt’s contacts was able to point him to a popular hacking forum where the data was being distributed.

The digital files contain more than 773 million records with the number of unique passwords being a little over 21 million. The reduction in numbers comes after stripping away unusable data and passwords that were still hashed, or encrypted. The smaller reduced number that represents compromised passwords should yet not be passed over as insignificant, even though it may seem to be so when correlated with the original leaks.

There are still over 21 million sets of data, emails coupled with passwords, that are now available for the taking. Worst of all, the data wasn’t sold at an auction; it was made publically available to anyone — no hacking or data skills required. When such a disaster strikes how do you protect yourself and your online identity?

Begin by checking with Hunt’s website, Have I Been Pwned, there you can type in email addresses and discover if they have been compromised at one point or another by a breach. After adding the passwords found in the most recent breach of Collection No. 1, Have I been Pwned now contains over 551 million different values to check your personal data.

Users should also follow secure password creation tips when creating new accounts including using complex alphanumeric passwords that are unique to each account and enabling secondary security features such as two-factor authentication. For tips and tricks on creating more secure passwords, be sure to follow our online guide.

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