The “Mother of All Data Breaches?” It Could Be Here…

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You have probably heard of one data breach after another these days, but this is one that you should really pay attention to: more than 772 million unique emails, along with more than 21 million unique passwords, have been exposed.

Troy Hunt, who runs the website “Have I Been Pwned,” first reported this breach, and he says that a huge file (87 GB) was uploaded to MEGA, a cloud service. This data was then sent to a popular hacking site, and now hackers have access to all of these passwords and email addresses.

This data breach, known as “Collection #1,” is very serious. However, it could just be the tip of the iceberg. There are claims that there are several more “collections” out there, and it could be as much as one full terabyte worth of data. This could be the newest “mother of all data breaches” if this is found to be true.

So, what does all of this mean for you? It not only means that your information could be part of this breach, but it also could mean that these password and email combinations could be used in a practice known as “credential stuffing.” What is this? It’s when a hacker uses known email and password combinations to hack into accounts. Basically, this could have an impact on anyone who has used an email/password combination on more than one site.

This, of course, is concerning because this particular breach has about 2.7 billion email/password combinations. On top of that, around 140 million of the emails, and 10 million of the passwords, were brand new to the hacking database, which gives the hackers even more ammunition to wreak havoc. The big lesson to be learned here is that you should always use good security practices when you create accounts online. You should never use passwords from one account to another, and you should definitely use two-factor authentication if it is available. If you don’t have a password manager, you might want to set that up, too.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.


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Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Hi Robert... I've been looking at setting up a vpn and encrypted email in recent weeks... might need to speed the process along.

May 16, 2019 07:09 AM #1
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good afternoon Robert - thanks for keeping us up to date.  It is just a matter of time when it will happen.

May 16, 2019 09:53 AM #2
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Robert- my husband is going to complain but I'm reviewing my passwords, especially those on older accounts and sites. He hates it that I make him have long passwords. 

May 16, 2019 07:13 PM #3
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Robert:

That's pretty scary stuff, but not surprising. Appreciate the tips and the advice on how to be more secure...hopefully!


May 17, 2019 06:03 PM #4
Vickie Teel
Allison James Estates & Homes - Punta Gorda, FL
Sharing Florida sunshine one homeowner at a time!

Thanks so much for your helpful info.  I'm in the process of changing mine now after another article I read here on the rain on how to make them secure and still remember them.  

May 17, 2019 06:33 PM #5
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Honestly I'm getting so sick of all this internet and computer bs.  Sooner or later there will be some major sh*t hit the fan when the computers go down and everything we depend on with it.

May 17, 2019 07:31 PM #6
Alan Grizzle
Chestatee Real Estate - Dahlonega, GA
Full Time Realtor, Lifelong Resident of Dahlonega

If you set up a password manager how to you prevent that from getting hacked? I am not very tec savy but it seems to me you would be up the creek if a crook hacked you there. They would have everything.


May 18, 2019 04:33 AM #7
Randy Elliott
RE/MAX Gold - Lodi, CA
REALTOR : Lodi / Stockton, CA

Thanks for the informative post, Robert. In our industry of full disclosure, it makes us all vulnerable to hackers at all levels.

May 18, 2019 03:12 PM #8
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

I appreciate your informative post.  I have soime work to do! This is never-ending ...

May 19, 2019 02:20 PM #9
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Wow this sounds particularly nefarious.    Thanks for letting us know.

May 20, 2019 09:24 AM #10
Greg Mona
Faira Homes Corp - Scottsdale, AZ
Real Estate in the 21st Century!

Scary, indeed Robert Siciliano.   At last count I had well over 200 different accounts that require a password. The lion's share of them are real estate related accounts, but many are personal ones as well. One good program we use here at work is called "Last Pass". If you allow it to, it will generate a password that is so convoluted, it would take forever to crack it. It then saves it for you. Now, you need a master password to access the program itself, so if you lost that you're out of luck! You can generate a new one, but everything stored up to that point gets reset. These are the posts that make me long for the simpler days. Sigh!

May 20, 2019 01:32 PM #11
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Thank you for always providing GREAT information on internet security.  It's certainly a wake-up call!

May 23, 2019 06:04 PM #12
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Robert Siciliano

Realty Security and Identity Theft Expert Speaker
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