Behind “The Mother of all” Data Security Breaches

Security experts are calling it the “Mother of all Breaches.” A data security leak last month exposed a mind-boggling 26 billion user records. Cybernews has called it “certainly the largest [data breach] ever discovered.”

How did it happen? The owner of the data, who remains unknown, had apparently been “meticulously” collecting records from all known data breaches. The data had been compiled in a searchable index, and was then exposed online.

In addition, the index has been found to include data from breaches that were previously not publicly known. Analysts are speculating that the owner of the data is some sort of “data broker” or other “malicious actor”.

Websites affected by the breach include Weibo (504 million user accounts), MySpace (360m), Twitter (281m), Deezer (258m), Linkedin (251m), AdultFriendFinder (220m), Adobe (153m), Canva (143m), VK (101m), Daily Motion (86m), Dropbox (69m), Telegram (41m). 

And that’s just a fraction of the 26 billion accounts compromised. Researchers have said they expect “the majority” of people to have been affected.

In an ironic twist, Australian software giant Atlassian also suffered a serious data breach last month. There was a breach of access to user accounts at Trello, its software tool for project managers. But compromising “just” 15 million user profiles, Atlassian’s blunder has come to appear minor in the scheme of things.

For the average person, the most dangerous outcome of a data breach is identity theft. Experts recommend avoiding the repeat use of passwords and changing passwords frequently. 

You can check whether your data has been breached and can be linked to your name and address at the following website: www.malwarebytes.com/digital-footprint. Google account users can check their exposure at: https://one.google.com/ 

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