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On Thursday May 5,

Holds Security researchers discovered a trove of 57 million usernames and passwords for emails and other online accounts being auctioned off for the high price of 1$.

The anonymous mastermind behind the whole scheme resided in Russia and unapologetic ally bragged about the stash of accounts and passwords.  After some coaxing, Holder Security Analysts gained the hacker’s trust and retrieved the data in exchange for “likes” and votes on one of Russia’s popular social media sites.

Millions of credentials belonging to Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo Mail were found on the list, and authorities are unsure if the hacker had sold credentials to the Russian criminal underground world before the discovery.

Unfortunately someone gaining access to your online accounts is very real and possible, and can happen to anyone at any time.  Even those who follow the highest cyber-security measures are at risk, but their chances are significantly lower.

If you’ve experienced a cyber-security breach or want to avoid one, read on to learn some basic but preventative cyber-security measures.

  1. Two-Factor Authentication

A password is just too easy for a stranger to figure out, especially if you’re not that creative, or use the same password for multiple accounts.  Today dozens of sites are offering their users two-factor authentication because they know one form isn’t enough.  The three standards of authentication are something you know (your password), something you have (a token like a code sent to your cellphone), and something you are (a biometrical feature like your fingerprint).

While biometric technology is on the horizon, most companies opt for something you have as the second form of authentication, and will send people a code to their mobile phone as the last authentication key before they gain access to their account.

Check Twofactorauth.org to see a list of sites that offer extra authentication.

 

  1. Have You Been Pwned?

If you don’t want to be caught by surprise, there are several sites that allow you to enter in your credentials and see if your accounts have been compromised in a data breach.  Email accounts, Adobe accounts, gaming accounts and more are tracked by free sites like haveibeenpwned.com, Pwnedlist, and breachalarm.com.

  1. Clean Your Online Presence

To prevent hackers from accessing accounts that can drastically impact and affect your life for the worse, like access to your bank account or credit, delete information that a hacker can use to wreak havoc.

Your email address and home address are two of the main targets hackers try to hit.  Sites like Spokeo and Whitepages.com have the option to get that information removed from their databases and no longer available to the public.

  1. Up Your Password Game

You’ve heard it plenty of times, but a weak password is just asking for a cyber-security breach.  Read our blog post that shows how to strengthen your password and up your security.

 

 

 

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