There have been numerous high-profile breaches involving popular websites and online services in recent years, and it’s very likely that some of your accounts have been impacted. It’s also likely that your credentials are listed in a massive file that’s floating around the Dark Web.
Security researchers at 4iQ spend their days monitoring various Dark Web sites, hacker forums, and online black markets for leaked and stolen data. Their most recent find: a 41-gigabyte file that contains a staggering 1.4 billion username and password combinations. The sheer volume of records is frightening enough, but there’s more.
All of the records are in plain text. 4iQ notes that around 14% of the passwords — nearly 200 million — included had not been circulated in the clear. All the resource-intensive decryption has already been done with this particular file, however. Anyone who wants to can simply open it up, do a quick