By Julian Hattem - 08/08/14 10:37 AM EDT
The Federal Trade Commission is warning people to be on guard after Russian hackers stole more than 1 billion online user names and passwords.
“You really don’t [know if your information was stolen], so don’t take any chances,” the head of the commission’s privacy and identity protection division, Maneesha Mithal, wrote in a blog post on Friday.
Consumers can never be sure that their data won’t be stolen, Mithal added. “But by taking these steps, you can lessen the odds scammers will get a hold of your information, and also minimize the consequences if they do,” she wrote.
Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that a Russian criminal ring has stolen about 1.2 billion user names and passwords along with more than 500 million email addresses. The ring has been dubbed “CyberVor,” the Russian translation of “cyber thief.”
Targets included a broad range of companies both large and small, seemingly without distinction.
“With hundreds of thousands of sites affected, the list includes many leaders in virtually all industries across the world, as well as a multitude of small or even personal websites,” security firm Hold Security wrote in a blog post.