Staying protected from cybercriminals is something everyone needs to stay on top of now that we're living in a digital world. New data breaches, malware and phishing scams are popping up constantly.
Having sensitive information fall into the hands of criminals is the last thing that we need. You definitely don't want your identity stolen or hackers having access to your bank accounts.
Unfortunately, a massive archive of stolen credentials was recently discovered online that could put you at risk.
Have your credentials been exposed?
Security researchers at 4iQ recently discovered a 41GB archive that contains more than 1.4 billion stolen user credentials. The credentials, including passwords, are unencrypted on the Dark Web.
The database includes email addresses, passwords and usernames. This isn't actually a new data breach, it's a collection of information that had been stolen in previous data breaches.
Researchers who discovered the file said, "While scanning the deep and dark web for stolen, leaked or lost data, 4iQ discovered a single file with a database of 1.4 billion clear text credentials--the largest aggregate database found in the dark web to date."
More than 250 previous data breaches contributed to this collection of stolen credentials. The stolen information was well organized, even indexed alphabetically by the criminal who put it together.
Anytime there is a massive data breach, there are steps that you need to take to make sure your information is secure. Keep reading for suggestions.
Change your password
Whenever you hear news of a data breach, it's a good idea to change your account passwords. This is especially true if you use the same credentials for multiple websites, which is a bad idea.
If your credentials are stolen from a breach, criminals can test them on other sites to log into those accounts as well. Read this article to help you create hack-proof passwords.
Keep an eye on your bank accounts
You should already be frequently checking your bank statements, looking for suspicious activity. It's even more critical when sensitive information has been exposed through a data breach.
If you see anything that seems strange, report it immediately. It's the best way to keep your financial accounts safe.
Set up two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication, also known as two-step verification, means that to log into your account, you need two ways to prove you are who you say you are. This is an extra layer of security that will help keep your accounts safe. Click here to learn how to set up two-factor authentication.
Investigate your email address
This is a critical step and it will only take a few seconds of your time. You need to find out if your credentials are part of any recent data breach. The best way to find out if you're impacted is with the Have I Been Pwned website.
It's an easy-to-use site with a database of information that hackers and malicious programs have released publicly. It monitors hacker sites and collects new data every five to 10 minutes about the latest breaches. You can even set up alerts to be notified if your email address is impacted in the future. Click here to find out if your email address has been compromised.
Beware of phishing scams
Scammers will try and piggyback on data breaches like this. They will create phishing emails, hoping to get victims to click on malicious links that could lead to more problems. You need to familiarize yourself with what phishing scams look like so you can avoid falling victim to one. Take our phishing IQ test to see if you can spot a fake email.
FROM WEBCAMS, SIGN-INS, TO ALEXA, DON'T MAKE THESE MISTAKES
When our PCs work normally, we sometimes take them for granted. We recklessly fill up our hard drives with data, download files, install applications and browse the web as we please. But of course, all it takes is one installation of a malicious application to ruin your PC and worse, have all your information stolen.