If you rely on Google, Microsoft, Yahoo or Mail.ru for your emails, you should go change your password right now.
Reuters is reporting that a Russian hacker has stolen more than 273 million email passwords and are selling them online. If true, this would be the largest security breach since hackers attacked US banks and retailers two years ago.
This revelation, Reuters reports, comes from a security expert at US-based security firm Holden Security. The company told Reuters that the stolen accounts include 53 million Mail.ru accounts, 40 million Yahoo accounts, 33 million Microsoft Hotmail accounts, and 24 million Gmail accounts.
If you, like me, use not only Gmail but a myriad of other Google services to keep your life organized (Google Photos, Google Keep and Google Map are soooo useful), a password change is in order. Yes, the source that tipped Reuters off is not exactly a neutral party — as a security firm, they definitely could benefit from an increased fear of cyberattacks from the general public — but cyberattacks have been on the rise and considering how much of our life is tied to the web these days, every precaution should be taken
In fact, if you’re not using two-step verification, I highly recommend you sign up for that too. It’s available on all the aforementioned compromised email services (and frankly, any internet service that doesn’t have it isn’t worth a damn).
What two-step verification does is provide a second level of security to log into your account. In addition to the password, you’d need a second code that is sent to your phone via text messages or, if you use Google, generated via an app. Does it make your account impossible to hack? No. But it does make it much, much harder, because someone would need to know your password and have your phone to get into your account. Heck, if your phone is locked, that’s basically having a third layer of protection.