This Month in Hacks: January 2019

The massive Starwood hack goes from bad to not as bad, German internet security chiefs take a lesson from a 20-year-old, 772 million emails are exposed, and guess've probably been pwned, all that and more in this month in hacks!

Gizmodo Called it “The Mother of All Breaches”

And they're not far off. Security Researcher, Troy Hunt announced the news on January 17th: In the largest public data breach to date, hackers exposed “Collection #1” – a group of 772,904,991 emails and 21,222,975 individual passwords.

Hunt says people who use the same email and password combination across multiple accounts are the most vulnerable. This is because hackers will use leaked email and password combinations to gain access to various accounts. To check if you've been hacked, you can use this site. For future reference, two-factor authentication can also help prevent hackers from accessing your personal information.

German Student Leaks Details of Almost 1000 Public Figures

A 20-year-old German student who said he was “annoyed” with what celebrities, politicians, and journalists were saying sought revenge by exposing the phone numbers, email correspondence, and photos of almost 1000 public figures.

Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, said the simplicity of many peoples' passwords were to blame. He said he was shocked at how simple some of the passwords were, such as ‘1,2,3' and ‘ILoveYou.'

The hacker himself could face a prison sentence of up to 3 years. But, since he may be able to help officials improve cybersecurity, there are rumors that he could face a lighter sentence if he cooperates. Perhaps, he'll suggest they consider bolstering employees' security by enabling two-factor authentication when it's available.

Massive Marriott Hack is Downgraded

It was reported back in November 2018 that personal information of 500 million Marriott guests had been stolen. Marriott said that the information, which included credit card numbers and passport information, had been stolen from the Starwood guest reservation database.

At the beginning of January, though, Marriott announced that they'd overestimated the number of guests who had been hit by the attack by about 117 million. Still, 383 customer records were stolen - and this remains a massive data breach. Though it may be too little too late for some, perhaps there's comfort in knowing that Marriott has also announced that they've completed their planned efforts to phase out the Starwood system.

Hackers Steal About $460,000 in Ethereum Classic

In a process known as “reorganization” of the Blockchain on which Ethereum Classic trades, hackers have managed to steal $460,000 worth of Ethereum Classic. Coinbase, a digital currency exchange which had just added ETC to its catalog in August, suspended all trading of ETC following the news of the attack.

Experts have speculated as to how those responsible were able to accomplish the reorganization. The consensus seems to be that a high-powered miner had the power to rewrite transaction histories. By doing so, the miner could double-spend currency that had already been spent.

For a currency—and industry—that's struggling to break into the mainstream, this attack on one of the most well-known cryptocurrencies will only make it harder for digital currency to become more widely accepted.

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