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The World’s Biggest Data Dump (Soon to be Broken)

Heart of privacy Column
I n the second installment of what is being called the “Collections,” an unidentified source has published the largest private data dump in history. “Collections #2-5,” as the installment is known, was identified by Heise Security.

“Collection 1,” the first installment, contained more than 2,692,818,238 rows of private email addresses, usernames, and passwords collected from thousands of sources.  Some of the records are duplicates of other data dumps, but according to various researchers, just the new usernames would still qualify as the world’s largest data dump.  

What does this mean for you?

How many of us use the same email and password across multiple sites?  Even if we are careful and use a different password, it is commonly a derivative of the first — like changing the numbers at the end or capitalizing the first letter, and/or adding an exclamation point. Now it is all in the hands of hackers.

If the breaches from Yahoo, LinkedIn, and Marriott haven’t scared you into changing your passwords completely and initiating two-factor authentication, what will it take? Most likely your credentials are compromised at some level. This can provide access into emails with all your email data, online storage, financial accounts, everything. This can affect both personal and business accounts.

Find out if your information is in that purloined data by visiting Have I Been Pwned, a website operated by cybersecurity expert Troy Hunt. The free service will tell you if your email or password show up in the most recent data breaches. It can also notify you after future breaches happen.

Take action. Go change passwords, enforce two-factor authentication (yes, it may be irritating, but it is seriously one of the easiest and best protections available) — and check Have I Been Pwned, searching for both your email and commonly used passwords.

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