Here we go again – another day, another data breach. The latest incident follows a string of high profile data breaches that were revealed this past year.
This time, the world’s fifth most popular website, also known as the front page of the internet, has been hacked!
Read on and we’ll tell you about what we know so far and how to protect yourself from the inevitable fallout.
Reddit data breach
Reddit has reported that a hacker successfully broke into its computer systems in June of this year, snagging the current email addresses of some of its users plus a 2007 database backup of usernames, messages and old passwords.
Aside from a complete copy of the 2007 database backup, the hackers also accessed Reddit digest email logs sent between June 3 and June 17 of this year.
Note: Reddit digest emails are similar to newsletters. These logs are critical since the digests connect a Reddit username with the associated email address.
Other data that may have been accessed include Reddit source code, internal logs, configuration files and other employee workspace files.
Although Reddit admits that this is a serious attack, the company said that the attackers did not gain write access to its systems.
But what is Reddit anyway? Click here to read everything you need to know about the “front page of the internet.”
How did it happen?
According to Reddit’s announcement, the security incident happened between June 14 and June 18, when an attacker was able to gain access to a few of its employees’ accounts with the company’s cloud and source code hosting providers.
The company believes that the attacker may have exploited Reddit’s own SMS two-factor authentication system by intercepting the text messages containing the security codes.
But how is that even possible? Isn’t two-factor authentication supposed to protect our accounts?
Well, hackers can use tricks like SIM card and port-out scams to steal your information and gain access to your text messages.
By impersonating you, they can then trick your carrier into transferring your number to another phone in their possession. Click here to learn how these cellphone scams work.
For this reason, the company is encouraging everyone to use token-based authentication instead of SMS-based 2FA for your critical accounts.
Reddit has already reported the issue to the proper authorities and the investigation is now underway.
It has since locked down their API keys and production systems as they’re enhancing their logging and monitoring systems.
The company has not specified the number of affected users, but if your account is included, you’ll soon receive a message from Reddit prompting you to reset your password.
Basic steps after a data breach:
If you do have a Reddit account, don’t just wait for their password reset email.
We don’t know the exact scope of the breach and it’s better to be proactive about it by following these basic steps:
- Change your password – Even if you are not notified by Reddit nor affected by the recent breach, you should still change your Reddit account password immediately. Read this article to help you create the perfect passwords.
- Check other accounts – With major data breaches like this, password reuse attacks will inevitably happen. If you are using the same passwords for multiple accounts, it is important that you review and change them now as well.
- Beware of phishing – Carefully scrutinize any emails or texts claiming to be from Reddit, they might be just fraudulent attempts to steal more of your personal information. Once the news of a data breach gets out, opportunistic cybercriminals try and scam unsuspecting people with phishing attacks.
- Use a password manager – You can use a third-party password manager to automatically create unique and complex passwords for you across multiple sites.
- Use two-factor authentication – Since Reddit’s breach is believed to be have been caused by SMS code intercepts, they don’t offer text-based 2FA anymore. Reddit recommends using an authenticator app like Google Authenticator instead.