Well, congratulations, people; we managed to get into the New Year a little more than two weeks before we heard about a data breach.
However, waiting meant we were in for a doozy, and this one definitely qualifies. It is literally called the biggest data breach ever, which means something in an era where data breaches are almost commonplace.
This violation involved nearly 773 million records, including e-mail addresses and some passwords. Records were published on the MEGA cloud service and were collected from a number of separate data violations and made public. In the end, MEGA removed the collection of records, but it is unclear how long the records have been made available.
Web security expert and Australia’s Microsoft Security Regional Director Troy Hunt verified the data and were shocked to discover that some of his own data had fallen into this massive dump. Since Hunt is a safety professional and takes several steps to protect his identity, the end result should be amazing for everyone.
Those interested in seeing if they are affected by the hack can check their email addresses on the website of Hunt, Have I Been Pwned. Hunt verifies that this is the single biggest breach he has ever loaded onto the site, making it one of the biggest competitors ever.
What can we do, then? Not much. Not much. Some people recommend regular password changes for maintenance purposes, but considering how much we actually have online presence in these days, this can be impractical.
Passwords entering manually cannot hurt either, and keeping them in a notebook or using a password manager can help.
At best, someone’s chances of entering your home and reading your password notebook are insignificant. However, what this represents is a call to our parts to be even more vigilant. It’s the kind of thing you need when you live online and take advantage of the many services— like mobile payments — it pays.