Gmail passwords of almost five million people have been leaked online in a recent hack. However, the good news is that most will not have to worry. Much of the information is either out of date or incorrect.
Some of the details have been taken from websites where Gmail accounts were used to sign up. The passwords for those sites have been taken. While in some cases those passwords will be the same, those who use different passwords for all their accounts will have very little to worry about. Those who do use the same passwords will need to look at changing their passwords to protect their email accounts. It would also be worth changing the details on other sites that have used the Google-owned emails to protect from any future consequences.
The information has been shared on a forum for a Russian bitcoin site. It is unclear just how many current and relevant passwords have been released. According to Evan Engel from Mashable, some information is definitely out of date. He noticed his Gmail address was included with a previous password that he created. Other users have reported the same thing.
Google also believes that the information is old. According to the tech company, there has been no security breach to suggest that current information is at risk. It is thought that the passwords have been taken through phishing attempts and from hacks on other sites. So, while almost five million Gmail passwords have been leaked online, it may not be too much of a problem.
It is now possible to check if a user’s account has been compromised. A new website called Is My Email Leaked has been created. Users simply have to enter their email address and click “check it.” This is good for some other types of email addresses, including Yandex. The site will then tell people whether their accounts have likely been attacked or not.
There is no need to specify the full email address, either. Users are allowed to add up to three asterisk within their email addresses, and the program will still be able to find the answer. This is great for those who want to avoid issues with websites secretly storing email addresses; even though the sites says that email addresses are not stored.
Google has confirmed that it would admit if security was breached. It has done in the past, so there is no reason to not believe that now. Google also admitted that it helps users secure their accounts as soon as they know of a security breach or even just an attempt. Users are advised to change their passwords though, and to opt for the two-stage verification process to protect their accounts in the future.
When changing passwords, make sure they are strong. While that does not protect them when there is a security breach, it makes them much harder for other users to guess. People are constantly looking to break into other accounts, especially those that could link to financial accounts. With five million people possibly being under threat due to the Gmail passwords leak, now is the perfect time to update all passwords to strong ones.
Opinion by Alexandria Ingham
Is My Email Leaked