Some people collect antique trinkets while others collect more abstract things like adventures. There’s someone out there, however, collecting passwords to email accounts, and yours just might be part of that collection. To date, it has been estimated that over 273 million email account passwords have been stolen by a person or entity now called “The Collector.” This criminal feat is one of the largest security breaches ever, and the passwords have been amassed from popular email services, including Gmail, Yahoo!, and AOL.
It is unclear exactly why “The Collector” has procured so many email passwords, aside from the fact that the individual is trying to sell them on the dark web. The puzzling part of this, however, is that the asking price is just $1. So, the hacker may only be seeking fame for achieving such a large-scale feat.
The email account credentials may have more value in being used in an email phishing scam, but it’s impossible to know the cybercriminal’s intentions as this point. While potentially having your email hacked doesn’t sound like that big of a threat, there are multiple ways in which this information could be used for harm.
The most notable risk is that the login information may be used to access other accounts; many people use the same username and password for their emails accounts as other ones, such as for online banking. So, there is far more value in this large collection than just the asking price of $1. To protect yourself, security experts advise you change your password immediately.