Biggest Data Leak in The Human History Exposes 26 Billion Records
In shocking news, we are witnessing the biggest data leak in human history. 26 billion records including names, numbers, email addresses and passwords has been leaked. This is dubbed as the ‘Mothers of all breaches’ (MOAB) and rightly so, we have not witnessed any breach of such great magnitude till date.
The biggest data leak before this, the CAM 4 data leak, witnessed a breach of nearly 11 billion records, pales in comparison, was not even half the size of MOAB 2024.
The data has been leaked from LinkedIn, Tencent, Truecaller, Twitter, DropBox and several other online platforms. The extent of this breach underscores the critical need for enhanced cybersecurity measures across the digital landscape.
The Details of The Data Breach:
The supermassive data breach contains a total of 12 terabytes of information spanning around 26 billion records. The breach has been discovered by CyberNews and Security Discovery, which believe that the real numbers might be higher than the estimated numbers.
The data records also contain information from the past data breaches and combines them into new information records, making the total count of 26 billion.
The sensitive information of the users such as usernames, passwords, email addresses, names and mobile numbers have been exposed.
The MOAB contains numerous records over 3,800 folders; each folder contains details of a different data breach. Although the researchers claim that the data is mostly the compilation of previously leaked data and also contain duplicate data (the same data gathered from different sources), CyberNews believes that new information is also added in the data base.
The impact of the data theft extends across a spectrum of commonly used applications and even governmental websites.
Some of the most notable records have been found from the Chinese Giant- Tencent QQ, which exposed nearly 1.5 billion records alone, followed by Weibo, Chinese version of twitter, accounting for nearly 504 million data records. The breach also touches upon the once-popular social platform MySpace, revealing the compromise of 360 million records. Twitter faces a substantial breach with 281 million exposed records, and the online professional networking portal LinkedIn follows suit with 251 million compromised records.
The data also extends from private entities to governmental bodies. As per the reports, the data has also been published from governmental websites of US, Brazil, Germany among others.
Given the exposure of personal information of billions of people, it is prudent to acknowledge that victims are at the severe risk of identity theft, scamming and frauds.
This information can be used to plan large scale scams, fishing schemes and multi-level frauds. On top of this, the compilation of all the past scammed data makes it easier for the scammers to locate information on people.
Individuals who employ the same passwords across multiple applications are particularly vulnerable, as the leaked data can be utilized to crack passwords and access critical information across various platforms.
How to Check is Your Data Has Been Leaked?
If you are concerned about the security of your personal data and want to check whether it has been compromised, you can utilize reputable platforms such as the official websites of 'CyberNews' or 'Have I Been Pwned.' By entering your email address or mobile number in the international format on these websites, you can ascertain whether your information has been part of any data breaches.
Both of these platforms identify the name of source websites/ applications from where your data has been stolen.
How to Protect Yourself:
As the specter of identity theft, scams, and fraud looms large, it is imperative for affected individuals to take proactive steps in safeguarding their digital presence. Hence, all the victims of the scams are strongly advised to change their passwords and maintain unique passwords for different applications. You are also advised to enable two-factor authentication across as many apps as possible. In this way, even if your data is leaked, the attackers would not be able to cause much harm, ensuring your safety and privacy.
Pin pointing the data leak to an individual/ organisation is nearly impossible:
Since the data leak, the people/ organisation responsible for compiling data breach of such a mammoth scale has not been identified yet. All the records were found on an unsecured website on darkweb.
However, it is high time that we understand that the data breach of such magnitude will cause unprecedented harm, exposing millions, if not billions of people to digital scams and threats.
The magnitude of the 'Mothers of all breaches' (MOAB) 2024 underscores the critical need for robust cybersecurity measures in our interconnected digital age. The exposure of 26 billion records, which comprises of sensitive personal information of individuals and even governmental websites, poses an alarming threat to individuals worldwide. This breach underscores yet again the critical need for robust and innovative cybersecurity measures. While the perpetrators behind this unprecedented breach remain unidentified, the incident serves as a reminder of the vulnerabilities in our digital infrastructure.