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Social media site Gab hacked: Passwords, private messages, user data stolen

Internet security is no joke. You are exposing yourself to risk every time you browse a site or log in to an account. Malware, viruses and phishing scams can get you through email, social media, bad links and more.

Hackers and other bad actors will always do their best to compromise your data and safety, but you can take some simple steps to protect yourself. Tap or click here for seven online security tips.

Perhaps the scariest attack of all is the data breach. Hackers can target any database and steal information about its users. Credit card numbers, passwords, medical records and more can be accessed and used for nefarious reasons. Your data can be sold or used directly against you. A recent data breach targeted the social platform Gab, affecting thousands of people and millions of posts. Here’s what happened.

The gift of Gab

Gab is touted as an alternative social media platform and attracts users who were kicked off more mainstream platforms. It works similarly to Twitter but without being moderated.

There are many alternatives to mainstream social media and some stir up controversy for their stance on “free speech,” which can include hurtful and dangerous commentary. Tap or click here to read about Parler’s tentative return.

Gab is breached

Gab is the latest victim of a massive data breach. A hacker hijacked more than 40 million posts from about 15,000 users, Wired reported. A group calling itself Distributed Denial of Secrets (a play on distributed denial-of-service or DDOS) has access to the data.

User data and profile information, private messages and passwords were also part of the 70-gigabyte data hack. DDoSecrets says it will share this information with the media and research groups.

Have you been breached?

Data breaches can occur anywhere and anytime. You may be part of one without even realizing it. Websites such as HaveIBeenPwned and CyberNews checker let you enter your email address to see if you were part of a data breach. These sites track genuine data breaches and are regularly updated. They will tell you if your email and passwords were part of any known breaches.

Protect yourself ahead of time

Whether you’ve been breached or not, you can minimize your risk. The following steps apply to all sorts of online mischief.

  • Use strong passwords or, better yet, a password manager. Tap or click here to read more about these useful tools.
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi. Hackers can use all sorts of tricks to get into your device through these open networks.
  • Use a VPN. Virtual private networks create a secure connection and protect your browsing history from others. Tap or click here for help choosing a VPN.
  • Keep all of your devices updated with the latest official patches and updates.
  • Monitor your accounts for any unusual activity. A thief can be using your payment methods to make purchases right under your nose.

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