Urgent warning to change all passwords now as 721million logins leaked last year

Internet users of all ages are being warned to change all of their passwords following a major leak of millions of logins.

According to cybercrime firm Spycloud, 721.5 million passwords were exposed to cyber criminals last year—and a further 22 million devices were infected by viruses and malware.

More than half of this information was stolen by botnets, which are networks of infected computers that can be controlled by cyber criminals and used to gain access to passwords with something called an infostealer.

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The study by Spycloud also found that 72% of people whose passwords were exposed in 2022 are still using their old passwords.

Apparently 167,000 leaked passwords were related to the British royal family and the death of Queen Elizabeth, while an additional 327,000 were inspired by Taylor Swift and Bad Bunny.

Trevor Hilligoss, director of securit research at SpyCloud, said: "The pervasive use of infostealers is a dangerous trend[…] Infostealers are easy, cheap, and scalable, creating a thriving underground economy with an 'anything-as-a-service' model to enable cybercrime."

Those who use the same password on multiple apps or websites are particularly at risk, as it could give hackers easy access to all of their data.

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When you make a new password, make sure it includes a mixture of numbers and letters as well as special characters.

You'll also want to activate two-factor authentication wherever possible. This is often listed as a 'backup and recovery' option and will ensure that you need to unlock and use your phone to access an account.

On top of that, it's a good idea to activate biometrics on your smartphone such as facial recognition and fingerprint ID.

This will stop hackers using your phone for two-factor authentication, and have the added benefit of keeping people out of your phone if it's ever stolen.


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