The company trying to be the Google of hacked user credentials says it just obtained another huge leak, this time affecting Twitter users. LeakedSource recently reported it obtained a database of more than 32 million Twitter login credentials from a user going by the alias Tessa88@exploit.im.
LeakedSource uses a freemium model where anyone can search for their own credentials for free; however, to see the majority of the leaked credentials users must subscribe to the service. Twenty-four passes are available for US$2 to US$4 depending on whether you pay by Bitcoin or PayPal – annual subscriptions run upwards of US$200.
Although pretty much anyone can claim they have a leaked database of credentials, LeakedSource believes this collection is legitimate. “These credentials… are real and valid,” LeakedSource said in its blog post. “Out of 15 users we asked, all 15 verified their passwords.”
LeakedSource says there’s no evidence to suggest these passwords were lifted directly from Twitter. Instead, the company believes users were infected by malware, which grabbed username and plaintext passwords from users’ browsers. LeakedSource says the initial malware targets were mostly Russian users.
The impact on you: If you want to check out whether your credentials are in the leaked database you can do so from LeakedSource’s homepage. The Twitter database includes email and password credentials, so don’t search by your username. Your search may also turn up other potentially hacked accounts. The good news is you don’t have to subscribe to LeakedSource to get at the important information. Each result will say which site the credentials are for. That’s all you need to know to reset the passwords for any affected accounts.
It’s inevitable that at least some of your online account credentials will be stolen during your lifetime – you have no control over how a site secures login data, for example. Nevertheless, there are a lot of things you can do to mitigate the risk.
Make sure you are using a modern browser to protect against the more common online risks and known risky sites. As far as passwords go, try to use a password manager to save your online account credentials such as 1Password, Dashlane or LastPass.
Never use the same password on two different sites – especially mission critical sites like banking, email and social networking. Also make sure every password is hard to guess by using random letters (upper and lowercase), numbers, and symbols (when possible). Most password managers can generate random passwords for you.
Perhaps most importantly, use two-factor authentication whenever possible. This is when an online account requires a second, short code – typically generated by a smartphone app or sent to your phone via SMS – before getting access to your account. In the event your password is stolen, the two-factor authentication step has a better chance of stopping hackers in their tracks until you can reset your password.