Russian Gang Hacks 1.2B Passwords, Experts Say Expect More

The gang carried out the largest data breach ever, and experts warn that, increasingly, individuals are powerless to stop the theft of their data.
Posted at 11:45 PM, Aug 05, 2014

A security firm says a Russian hacking gang managed to steal 4.5 billion online records, including 1.2 billion unique usernames and passwords, from 420,000 websites. Sounds terrifying, right? (Via Getty Images)

Well, it may be inevitable, according to cybersecurity experts. The latest cybercrime, which Hold Security is calling the largest data breach ever, could be the new normal for our personal information.

Hold Security discovered the breach, and says a gang of Russian thieves used malware-infected computers to look for vulnerabilities in company websites. (Via Al Jazeera)

The company says the thieves: "​did not differentiate between small or large sites. They didn't just target large companies; instead, they targeted every site that their victims visited."

With all the high-profile hackings lately, like the European Central Bank and the NASDAQ, both reported last month, and last year's big Target data breach, you could be forgiven for being used to stories about hacking and data theft by now. (Via CNET, Businessweek, Getty Images)

And it may only get worse from here. The New York Times' report on the hacking says, "There is worry among some in the security community that keeping personal information out of the hands of thieves is increasingly a losing battle." And in another article published an hour later, The Times helpfully answers the question "How can I stop my information from being stolen in the first place?" with "Increasingly, you cannot."

Instead, while individuals can really only do damage control after they've been hacked, it's up to the companies themselves to prevent breaches in the first place. Hold Security says it won't identify the companies that were hacked by the Russian gang because most of them are still vulnerable.