Emerging Threats

Over 1 billion stolen records found in dark web discovery

Written by a NortonLifeLock employee


A record-breaking collection of more than 1.4 billion stolen records has been discovered on the dark web.The discovery on Dec. 5 by researchers at 4iQ underscores the threat consumers might face in the United Kingdom and worldwide : Your personal information may be out there and available for a price.

What sort of information?

The massive collection includes key details, including these: 

  • Email addresses.
  • Passwords.
  • Other credentials.

Plus, researchers found, a lot of the data is fresh—i.e., updated as recently as November. That suggests the data—41GB— may still be in use.

Identity theft in the UK is rising

The discovery comes at a time when identity theft is rising in the U.K. Nearly 500 British identities were stolen daily in 2017, according to Cifas. The not-for-profit organization noted a record-pace of 89,000 cases of identity fraud in the first half of the year.

Weak passwords increase the risk. Researchers dug into the latest credential archive and ranked the most common passwords contained in the data. Here are the top four:

  1. 123456
  2. 12345678
  3. qwerty
  4. password

Such easy-to-figure-out passwords often clear the way for identity thieves to break into financial accounts or open new ones in your name. That’s why it’s smart to use strong, unique passwords for each of your online accounts, and don’t use the same password across all your online accounts. Why? If one account is compromised, you won’t expose your other accounts and have your identity compromised further.

Password managers can also help. Using a secure password manager, such as Norton Identity Safe, helps you remember all the strong, unique passwords you use and autofills your login information to bypass using a keyboard.

7 billion identities have been stolen

The discovery of the of 1.4 billion records in a single archive represents a new record. It tops the previous leading cache of stolen credentials—the combo list, which exposed 797 million records. The latest discovery includes those records. (5)

The threat of identity theft isn’t likely to disappear. Consider: More than 7 billion identities have been stolen in data breaches in the past eight years, according to recent research from NortonLifeLock.

That’s almost one record for every person on the planet.

Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. NortonLifeLock offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about cyber safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses.

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