Millions of people in the West Midlands are at risk of fraud and having their personal accounts hacked after the largest ever data dump on the internet was discovered.
The database, called Collection #1, contains the usernames and passwords of more than 772 million unique passwords and 21 million passwords and has been circulating on the dark web for the past few weeks.
This is the biggest dump of personal data for six years.
However, it is feared that this collection is just the tip of the iceberg and that larger databases containing sensitive information will be available online imminently.
Collection #1 is 87GB and contains 2,692,818,238 spreadsheet rows across 12,000 files.
Although the collection has since been removed from the cloud storage website MEGA, there are fears that the information downloaded initially could be used by cyber criminals for years to come unless individuals take decisive action now.
You can check to see if your accounts have been breached by visiting Have I Been Pwned here - an account run by the Australian web security expert Troy Hunt.
Type in your email address and it will instantly notify you whether your account has been breached or not.
If you discover your account has not been breached, congratulations. But don’t rest on your laurels, as cyber criminals are innovative and always looking to steal your information.
If your account has been breached though, please follow these simple guidelines.
1. Change your passwords
Once a breach has been discovered you should change your security passwords ASAP.
By completing this simple task you are effectively slamming the door on the hackers and denying them the opportunity to take over your account.
2. Never use the same password for multiple accounts
Don’t be sloppy by making it easy for hackers.
If they uncover one password and it’s the same for your social media, banking and shopping accounts, you could find yourself in big trouble.
Try to have individual details for each account.
3. Use an effective password manager
Trying to remember several individual passwords for different accounts can be troublesome, but there are numerous password managers available that can help you stay safe.
Take LastPass for example. All you do is log into an online account for the first time and LastPass will store your username and password, so every time you go back your credentials will be filled in automatically.
4. Use Two Factor Authentication
where possible Two-factor authentication solutions are used by businesses of all sizes and aim to keep confidential data secure.
They are an effective tool in the fight against cyber criminals as they reduce the likelihood of identity theft.
Criminals detest sites that incorporate multi-factor authentication as they cannot compromise logins with usernames and passwords alone.
To some people this may seem like a lot of effort, but please be aware that cyber criminals are buying passwords in bulk for about £13 million.
If they haven’t gained access to yours yet, they will be doing their hardest to do so.
If you would like to speak to OmniCyber Security about our cyber security services, please call 0121 7092526 or email firstname.lastname@example.org