Saturday 30 March 2019 3:24 AM UTC
LONDON March 30: Almost one billion people’s personal data has been breached online by a shadowy marketing company that has since disappeared without a trace.
Email addresses from 982 million people were listed in what researchers are calling one of the ‘biggest and most comprehensive email database’ breaches ever.
Personal information including names, gender, date of birth, employer, details of social media accounts and even home addresses were listed.
Security researchers uncovered the breach in an online database created by Verifications.io that had no privacy protections in place.
The firm offered an ‘enterprise email validation’ service that let other marketing firms check whether lists of email addresses they have harvested are real.
Verifications.io took down their website after the leak was uncovered and they have refused requests for a comment on the situation.
Little is known about the people behind the business with its backers maintaining their anonymity due to the dubious tactics it employs.
Cybersecurity expert and Microsoft regional director Tory Hunt runs ‘Have I Been Pwned’.
The website lets you check whether your email has been compromised as part of any of the data breaches that have happened.
If your email address pops up you should change your password.
To check if your password may have been exposed in a previous data breach, go to the site’s homepage and enter your email address.
The search tool will check it against the details of historical data breaches that made this information publicly visible.
If your password does pop up, you’re likely at a greater risk of being exposed to hack attacks, fraud and other cybercrimes.
Mr Hunt built the site to help people check whether or not the password they’d like to use was on a list of known breached passwords.
The site does not store your password next to any personally identifiable data and every password is encrypted.
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