‘Mother of All Breaches’: 26 billion data records from X, MySpace stolen - Hindustan Times
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‘Mother of All Breaches’: 26 billion data records from X, MySpace stolen

By | Edited by Aryan Prakash
Jan 23, 2024 06:49 PM IST

In a latest historic data breach, researchers discovered a staggering 26 billion records, marking it as the ‘mother of all breaches’.

A cybersecurity researcher has reportedly discovered a leak of 26 billion records, making it to be the ‘mother of all breaches’. This breach reported by Bob Dyachenko, the owner of SecurityDiscovery.com is beyond mere credentials, exposing highly sensitive data that holds significant value for malicious actors.

The leaked data records go beyond mere credentials, containing highly sensitive information that could be exploited for blackmailing individuals and businesses. (Representational Image)(Getty Images)
The leaked data records go beyond mere credentials, containing highly sensitive information that could be exploited for blackmailing individuals and businesses. (Representational Image)(Getty Images)

A report from cybernews suggests that the owner of these stolen data records remains unknown, with speculation pointing to the individual being a data broker or a cybercriminal. The potential risks include identity theft, scams, cyber attacks, and various other malicious activities.

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“The dataset is extremely dangerous as threat actors could leverage the aggregated data for a wide range of attacks, including identity theft, sophisticated phishing schemes, targeted cyberattacks, and unauthorized access to personal and sensitive accounts,” the researchers were quoted as saying by the report.

What are these records about?

Reports indicate that the data compilation is a mix of both past and recent breaches, posing a significant threat to individuals.

The largest chunk of data originates from Tencent QQ, a popular Chinese instant messaging app, accounting for 1.4 billion records. Additional millions of data records come from platforms like Weibo, MySpace, X (previously Twitter), and others. The data is sourced from diverse locations, including the US, Brazil, Germany, the Philippines, and Turkey.

“If users use the same passwords for their Netflix account as they do for their Gmail account, attackers can use this to pivot towards other, more sensitive accounts.” the researcher said, according to the Cybernews report.

Addressing this issue becomes crucial, considering the potential for cybercrimes and exploitation. While hackers continuously devise new methods, individuals themselves often display a lack of caution in cybersecurity practices.

Some safety measures to protect your data

Here are some security advisory laid down by technology companies and mobile phone manufacturers to safeguard data privacy and combat the dissemination of misinformation:

-Enhance security with Two-Step Verification, adding an extra layer by setting up a PIN for account resets. Phones from leading companies like Apple, Samsung, and Google offer Touch ID, Face ID, or under-screen fingerprint sensors for added protection.

-Messaging apps like WhatsApp limit forwards to five chats, reducing misinformation spread by over 25%. Viral messages face additional restrictions, marked as "Forwarded many times" and limited to one chat at a time. Users can block accounts and report messages.

-WhatsApp's disappearing messages vanish after seven days, with a 'view once' feature for photos and videos. Telegram offers self-destructing messages for enhanced privacy.

-Admin controls in some encrypted messaging services empower users to manage group messaging. In WhatsApp, administrators can control who sends messages within groups, while Telegram's secret chats remain device-specific and off its cloud.

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