The New York Times reported Wednesday that a Russian crime ring has amassed the largest known collection of stolen Internet credentials, including 1.2 billion username and password combinations and more than 500 million email addresses.
While details are still limited, including which companies are victims or how the hackers conducted the breach, the Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington urges consumers to protect their online accounts.
The Times reports the hackers appear to be using the stolen information to send spam on social networking sites such as Twitter but could make more money selling it on the black market.
The BBB said there isn’t much consumers can do to prevent data breaches from happening, but recommends the following actions will help minimize the risks of identity theft:
- Change passwords. Never use the same password for every online account or website.