It was just about a week ago when I got the bad news. I was involved in a massive email breach of 800 million emails. Troy Hunt, owner of the website Have I been pwned, sent me an email. 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 in 2017 to 3 billion accounts compromised. Ouch!
Verifications.Io’s Massive Email Breach of 800 Million Emails
The Verifications.Io email breach was discovered on February 25, 2019. Bob Diachenko of Security Discovery dot com, uncovered this massive email breach. It was publicly accessible by anyone without any password required.
The list contained some personal identification data along with email addresses. A 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.
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. They remove the emails that won’t work, and create a clean list that has 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?
That is the real reason behind this post. I had to let my readers know how they can find out if they were exposed in this massive email breach.If you were exposed, you need to be more careful about your accounts.
There are some things you need to do to help protect yourself from becoming another Identity Theft victim. However, there is no guarantee that your name isn’t already on the dark web somewhere. Hopefully, good security precautions will keep the data victims safe.
To find out if you have been exposed, go to Troy Hunts website, Have I been Pnwed and check your email. if you are worried about 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. But, if the bad guys hacked one of my accounts, they could get into every account using the same password!
So, last year when I was caught in the River City Media data breach last year, I decided it was time I got a password manager. Then, I replaced all my simple passwords with long and difficult to figure out passwords. It was a real pain in the butt for sure!
Your Accounts Are Much 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.
Here is a Video From the Federal Trade Commission – What to do After a Data Breach
Your Data has Been Exposed
Troy’s website will enable you to check and see if you have been exposed. 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. Here are the top 25 passwords of 2017 people used. 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 You 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. That will 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 Share too Much 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 the Worst Happens – Your Identity is Stolen
It’s a worst nightmare ever, someone is using your name! Your identity is Stolen? 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.
What Can You do if 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?
A Video to Help Identity Theft Victims
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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