On Wednesday, international cyber security experts advised all Internet users worldwide to change their passwords after a report revealed that a whopping 1.2 billion usernames and passwords were exposed in massive breach of security, the largest on record.
According to the report, over the last seven months, a Russian cyber crime ring dubbed "CyberVor" targeted 420,000 websites and stole 1.2 billion usernames and passwords and more than 500 million email addresses.The security breach is the largest ever reported, and includes information from individuals and companies worldwide.
Some cyber security experts are questioning the timing of the report by Hold Security in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Hold Security released the information to the New York Times on Tuesday, which coincides with the opening of annual Black Hat cyber security conference and Defcon in Las Vegas.
Since 1997, thousands of Cyber security experts, researchers, hackers, government agencies including U.S. Department of Homeland Security CERT members and privacy advocates converge at the annual Black Hat conference in Las Vegas to discuss information security and expose vulnerabilities.
In 2013, researchers at the Annual Black Hat and Defcon conferences demonstrated the ability, using a laptop to kill the power steering, spoof GPS systems and adjust the speedometers on the Ford Escape and Toyota Prius. In recent years, researchers and hackers have exposed security gaps in critical infrastructure such as U.S. power grids and water plants, and medical devices such as pacemakers-- just to name a few.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) leads efforts to improve the nation's cybersecurity posture, coordinate cyber information sharing, and proactively manage cyber risks to the Nation. U.S. CERT has not posted information on the massive security breach by Russian cyber criminals. However, the official DHS CERT website does offers general tips to Americans to keep their identification and bank information safe.
The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) recommends passwords with a combination of numbers, special characters, and both lowercase and capital letters. It is also strongly recommended that Internet users employ different passwords on different systems.
For more tips and information, click HERE for the official US-CERTS website.