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An extensive amount of private email addresses and passwords were leaked online in a massive data breach that is being called “Collection #1.” This massive data breach included 772,904,991 unique email addresses and over 21 million unique passwords being posted online to a hacking forum. This data hack is one of the biggest data breaches in Internet history. The data was originally placed on a popular cloud hosting site known as Mega before being removed and then reposted on a new site. Contrary to the process of many previous leaks, the data in Collection #1 has not been posted to be sold, the records were just there for anybody to use. Experts are saying that the data and information did not emanate from a single source, website, or business, but that it is an accumulation of 2,000 leaked databases with cracked passwords included. Cracked passwords are ones where the preventative layer meant to jumble the password information to protect it from being shown has been decoded in a manner that allows it to be used in hacking forums.

You are able to check if you are one of the Internet users that has been affected by this massive data breach by checking the website Have I Been Pwned. Here you can find out whether or not your email addresses and passwords have been compromised and need to be changed, and which websites the leaked information came from. In order to do this, users must type in the email address they think might have been affected by the hack and then the website will check to see if the user information was a part of Collection #1. Users can also choose to type in frequently used passwords to see if they have been “seen.” If the result comes back positive, those passwords should be immediately changed on any websites they are used on. These results can also tell you if you have been the victim of any previous breaches as well, not just Collection #1.

After a massive data breach like this one, many Internet users are seeking preventive measures against being affected by situations like this in the future. Online password managers are tools set up to generate strong and unique passwords for individual websites and user accounts. These generated passwords are not meant to be remembered easily so password managers store them so they can be accessed whenever a user is attempting to log into their personal account.  Additional advice to protecting your information online includes trying to never use the same passwords across multiple websites and to enable app-based two-factor authentication on as many of your accounts as you can to set an additional line of defense for your information that goes further than just setting a password.

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