560 million stolen passwords available online: how to defend yourself

Distributed on the net a database with numerous emails and passwords stolen from users by hackers violating different profiles. Have you been affected? Here's how to find out

There isn't a day when news about some form of hacker attack doesn't emerge. After WannaCry, one of the biggest ransomware attacks ever, another case has surfaced that threatens to send users into a panic: 560 million stolen passwords are circulating on the web.

These are credentials that hackers have accumulated over the years, so some of them are old. What is worrying is that the passwords have been collected in a real database. In the collection of cyber criminals, available on the internet, would be finished the email addresses of users scattered all over the world. In short, a sort of bazaar of the illicit made of personal data and accessible by anyone. The news is alarming also for another reason. Most users, for convenience, tend to use the same credentials to access the sites. This means that the number of profiles that can be hacked through revealed passwords could be very high.

How to protect yourself from hackers

But all is not lost. There are, in fact, several methods to protect yourself from these forms of cyber attacks. The first is to try to hinder the criminal activity of hackers by setting a complex and hard-to-find password. It may seem strange, but one of the most used passwords is 123456. Help in this regard could come from password managers, very useful programs that generate and store multiple access keys. It is strongly recommended, then, not to use always the same credentials.

Let's go back to the case of the 560 million stolen passwords disclosed on the Internet. Is it possible that our data are gone too? Certainly, unfortunately. And there is also a way to find out. The website "haveibeenpwned.com" allows you to check, by adding your email address, if your account has been compromised. If it has, you'll have to change your password immediately.

To make hackers' lives more difficult, it's also a good idea to turn on two-step verification: this is a security system that allows you to add a code to the simple password, which is usually sent to your cell phone.