If you use a computer, your data likely got leaked in what researchers have called the mother of all data breaches.
Twenty brands have had over 100 billion leaked records, with the largest being Tencent’s 1.5 billion. Brands more familiar to Western consumers such as LinkedIn, X, Venmo, Canva, Apollo and Adobe have also been hit. Cybernews Head of Security Research Mantas Sasnauskas summed up the scale of the shocking breach, saying “Probably the majority of the population have been affected.”
With the staggering amount of data being breached, experts are on high alert for increased, targeted cybercrime.
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“The dataset is extremely dangerous as threat actors could leverage the aggregated data for a wide range of attacks,” the researchers told the New York Post. It should be noted that usernames and passwords were included in the leak.
This can be especially dangerous for those who use the same password across different accounts. If a hacker knows an email and password combination on Netflix, for example, they might logically start with that combination in an attempt to gain access to more sensitive data, such as getting access to e-mail and banking accounts.
This particularly dangerous attack is called credential stuffing, where a hacked individual can have their accounts compromised across multiple services in just a few moments, leaving behind a much more devastating trail of destruction.
What would anyone even do with $26 billion dollars worth of stolen data records? According to Sasnauskas, the dataset may have been created in an attempt to build a criminal marketplace for sensitive information. Perhaps for broader distribution on the dark web, where malicious actors can buy the leaked data to prospect potential victims for their cybercrimes.
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One silver lining to this news would be for the investors who have cybersecurity stocks in their portfolios.
Crowdstrike Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:CRWD) and Zscaler Inc. (NASDAQ:ZS) have seen their stocks outperform the already strong tech rally to start the year, having soared 20.5% and 14% year to date, respectively.
For investors thinking they’ve missed out on the run-up in publicly trading cybersecurity stocks, retail investors have been pouring millions into startups specializing in cybersecurity and data privacy. On DealMaker, a leading equity crowdfunding portal, Wault is accepting investments for as low as $100 to scale its software that makes credentials “portable as a wallet, secure as a vault.”
While there’s no way to fully prevent data breaches in today’s digital age, there are some common tips that are easy to implement.
Remember to use strong and unique passwords, multi factor authentication, up-to-date software, only visit secure URLs and continuously monitor bank and credit card statements for unusual activity. These tips are just a start but can go a long way to keeping your threat level lower.
If there were ever a time to change your passwords, it’s now.
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This article ‘Mother of All Data Breaches’ — 26 Billion Records Leaked, Users of LinkedIn, X, Venmo And More Panic Over Increased Cybercrime Risk originally appeared on Benzinga.com
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