• Proteams Information Tech

One of the Biggest Data Leaks of All Time

The largest data breach of all time has been recorded to include 3 billion users' credentials, find out how and if your details were one of many involved

The breach has been named a Compilation of All Breaches (COMB) which means it is a file that combines a huge number of individual data breaches from a wide range of companies, the data file contains around 3.2 billion (yes, billion with a B) clear text email and password combinations compiled from companies such as Netflix, and social networking sites. So essentially, the breach (if each individual record was for a singular person) effects 40% of the world population, and more hauntingly, around 70% of all internet users.

The breach came to light on the 2nd of February 2021on a popular hacking forum, and after some search it has been found that although it is not a completely new breach, it has a complete compiled list of the credentials of users from many past leaks, including the 2017 breach where 1.4 billion user credentials were released.

COMB has been organised as a quick and searchable database of past major leaks, it includes past major leaks from popular online services such as Netflix, LinkedIn, Bitcoin, Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo and many more. Cyber news stated they they were able to find that around 200 million Gmail addresses and 450 million Yahoo email accounts were in COMB.

Check here to see if your email was one of those involved in a service kindly provided by CyberNews, which has a 500 GB database of hashed emails that have been leaked, but dont worry the tool doesn't allow for your email to be collected, logged or stored. To check if your email address was leaked:

  1. You enter the email address in the search field.

  2. The tool hashes the email you entered and uses only this hash to perform a search in our database

  3. The search results appear on the same page

A number of the companies named claim that they have never actually had a data breach, including Netflix and Gmail, but these accounts could likely have been accessed because of other companies data breaches, and the use of repeated passwords across accounts, meaning hackers are able to gain access to a number of accounts associated with that email address. Other companies, like Microsoft have admitted to experiences data breaches, where in a 2 month period, hackers were able to gain access to a number of users' Outlook.com, Hotmail and MSN Mail email accounts. The biggest breach amongst COMB is by far from Yahoo, who admitted to having a huge breach that occurred in 2014, where all 3 billion of its users were affected. Although not all data from these breaches have been included, it's likely that 'dead' credentials have been removed due to the level of organisation of the database.

Next steps to protect yourself against cyber crime and data breaches; change your passwords (and dont repeat them across different accounts), preferably using a password generator or ensuring you have a 'strong' password, with a combination of lower and upper case letters, symbols and numbers, as well as changing your passwords regularly. You can also opt to use a password manager, which will help you to keep track of your new passwords and much more. Further, you may also want to invest in a service that helps to better protect your data and security online.

Even if your account doesn't show to be at risk in the data leak checker above, it is important that you take these steps to protect your online privacy, it is unlikely that this will be the last data breach and so you should take steps to protect yourself before you aren't so lucky.

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