Massive Data Breach Exposes 26 Billion Records: Is Your Information Safe?

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In a chilling revelation, cybersecurity experts have uncovered the "mother of all breaches." A staggering 26 billion records of leaked, breached, and sold data have been unearthed on the web, potentially putting countless individuals at risk of identity theft and other cybercrimes.

Cyber Threat Intelligence Director Bob Diachenko, of SecurityDiscovery.com, in collaboration with the team at Cybernews.com, made the discovery. This massive collection of user logins and personally identifiable information (PII) spans 12 terabytes (TB) of data, setting a new benchmark in data breaches.

Although a significant portion of the compromised data comes from known sources, experts warn that the compilation likely includes new, unpublished data and duplicate entries. To put the scale of this breach into perspective, Cybernews' own data leak checker—which contains 15 billion records—pales in comparison.

The implications of this breach are profound. With such a vast amount of sensitive information now exposed, the threat of identity theft and credential-stuffing attacks looms large. Credential-stuffing attacks involve cybercriminals using known passwords and related email addresses to gain unauthorized access to various online accounts. If you reuse passwords on multiple platforms or fail to update them regularly, your risk of falling victim to attacks like this is significantly heightened.

Secure your passwords now

Thankfully, you can take steps to mitigate the risks posed by this breach. Services like Have I Been Pwned and Cybernews's lookup tool help users check if their information has been compromised. However, being aware of a breach is not enough—you must take proactive measures to safeguard your online security.

You need to use unique, strong, and randomly generated passwords for all accounts, particularly those containing sensitive information such as email, financial, or educational credentials. Password managers offer a convenient solution for securely managing login information, with both paid and free options available. Email masking techniques can also provide extra protection against phishing attempts and fraudulent inquiries.

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Disclaimer: Portions of this article were assisted by automation technology. All content therein has been augmented, thoroughly edited, and fact-checked by our in-house editorial staff of human safety experts.

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past decade. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime and safety reports and spotting trends. Her expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like NPR, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of podcast, radio and TV clips in the US and abroad.

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