I was shocked when I got the bad news. My email address was exposed in a massive email breach of 800 million emails. Troy Hunt, owner of the website Have I been pwned, sent me the bad news. This was not an email I wanted to receive, but I feel better knowing what happened. It means, that my personal data has been exposed to the public.
Troy gave me the option to be notified if I was ever involved in any breaches after I was Caught in the River City Media Data Breach last year. Only this time, it is much bigger. It is a data breach of 800 million emails. Probably the most massive email breach was the 2013 Yahoo breach. Originally the Yahoo data breach reported in 2016,1 billion accounts were compromised. However, that was revised upward in 2017 to 3 billion accounts compromised. Ouch!
Massive Email Breach
Verifications.Io’s Massive Email Breach of 800 Million Emails
The Verifications.Io email breach was discovered on February 25, 2019. And it was Bob Diachenko of Security Discovery dot com, who uncovered this massive email breach. This email list was publicly accessible by anyone without any password required.
This list revealed personal identification data along with email addresses. A quick search of the data, revealed the owner to be an email verification service, called Verifications,Io.
Bob then teamed up with Vinny Troia, of NightLion Security, and they began to research the company called Verifications.Io.
As it turns out, this company verifies email lists, by sending unsolicited emails. They preform as a service to clean up email lists and return valid email addresses.
What they do is they remove the emails that won’t work, and create a clean list that contains working emails that are being used. Thus, the name Verification.Io.
If you want to read more about the whole process, you can read Bob’s article at Security Discovery.
Were You Exposed In A Massive Email Breach
Do you know if your email address was involved? Honestly, that is the real reason behind this post. I wanted all my readers to know how they can find out if they were exposed in this or any other massive email breach. If you were exposed, you need to increase the security of your accounts. So, how do you do that?
There are some basic things you need to do to protect yourself from becoming another Identity Theft victim. To be clear, there is no guarantee that your name isn’t already on the dark web somewhere. Hopefully, good security precautions will keep you and all the data victims safe.
Have you been exposed? Go to Troy Hunt’s website, Have I been Pnwed and check. You can enter your email. If you are worried about checking your email address on Troy’s site, you needn’t be.
Troy is one of the good guys in cyber security, and he has some good tips for protecting yourself. Troy is basically trying to help protect the public, and this breach includes his data as well.
Use Strong Passwords And A Password Manager
it is impossible to protect yourself completely, but one thing that Troy recommends is to use unique passwords and a password manager. The worst thing you can do is to use easy to remember passwords and use them more than once!
I had done this for years, used the same password over and over again. If the bad guys hacked one of my accounts, they could get into every account using the same password!
I was caught in the River City Media data breach. When I needed longer passwords, I knew it was time I got a password manager. I installed a free open source password manager called KeePass. Then, I replaced all my simple passwords with long and much harder to figure out passwords. It was a real pain in the butt for sure! But well worth it!
Make All Accounts More Secure With Strong Passwords
However, it made me feel a lot more secure knowing I have made all my accounts much more secure with strong passwords. It is a laborious task changing all your passwords to difficult ones for sure. But it is unavoidable, and a total necessity. It is better than making it easy for the crooks to hack my accounts.
A Massive Email Breach Has Exposed Your Data
Troy’s website will enable you to check and see if you have been exposed. Honestly, you can’t do anything about your information floating around the dark web, none of us can. But, we can make it harder for thieves to hack into our accounts.
People use easy to figure out passwords, and that is a big mistake. Here is a list of the top 25 passwords of 2017. As you can see they are very easy to figure out. If you are using something like this, get rid of it!
123456 , Password , 12345678 , qwerty , 12345 ,123456789 ,letmein ,1234567 ,football iloveyou ,admin ,welcome ,monkey ,login ,abc123 ,starwars ,123123 ,dragon passw0rd ,master ,hello ,freedom ,whatever ,qazwsx ,trustno1.
Keep Your Computer Updated
Since the world now has your email address, and possibly some passwords, you also need to be sure your computer is updated. These updates contain some powerful security updates that help protect you from becoming a victim.
Keeping you computer updated helps prevent malicious programs from attacking your computer. Just doing that regularly will go a long way to help protect your data inside the computer as well.
Change your passwords to longer more difficult to guess passwords. Especially the passwords protecting your computer and financial records.
Tips for Protecting Yourself
- Use Encryption Software for Online Transactions
- Make Sure Websites Have the “Lock Icon” (https) Before You Send Your Transaction Online
- Use strong Passwords for Your Computer, Banks and Credit Accounts
- Never Post Personal Information on Social Sites – It can be Used to Answer Security Questions
- Don’t Send Personal Information When Using Public Wi-Fi in Public Places
- Never use Automatic Login on Your Laptop or Phone
What If Your Identity is Stolen
It’s a worst nightmare ever, someone is using your name! Someone has stolen your Identity? How can you tell? Most of the time it is just common sense.
Here are some red flags to indicate it might be possible, someone else is using your identity.
- Unexplained withdrawals from your bank account
- Debt collectors are calling about unknown debts
- Missing bills or mail
- Medical bills you don’t recognize
- Unusual medical conditions on your health plan
- More than one tax return filed in your name
If you have issues with one or more of those red flags, you may be a victim of Identity Theft Your identity may have been stolen.
Help When Your Identity Is Stolen
First, you must determine if your identity is stolen. If so, then the long road of the repair process begins. A great place to start is to visit IdentityTheft.gov.
It is a government help website where you can report Identity theft or get a complete guide on what to do for recovering from an Identity Theft. In a perfect world, these things would not be necessary. Are you a Victim of Identity Theft?
This government website has instructions for repairing the financial damage. You get a plan on what to do, step by step and it is 100% free. So, you don’t need to fret about having the money to hire a lawyer, at least not yet.
You will be able to notify your creditors, and have form letters to use that are ready to be filled in. Hopefully, the damage is not too severe and you will be able to do the entire process yourself.
You can read more about protecting yourself in my article Theft and Protection Review
I hope you have enjoyed and learned something from my information I have given you. If you have any questions or you want to tell me about your experience, please feel free to leave a comment below.
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