Better Business Bureau urges consumers and businesses to change their passwords in the wake of a report of an alleged massive international data breach.

According to the Hold Security, its Deep Web Monitoring program discovered what could be the widest-ranging global security breach in history, affecting an estimated 420,000 websites, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small internet sites. The New York Times reports that a second computer crime expert who reviewed the data said some large companies were aware their records were among the stolen information.

The company did not list the names of the hacked websites, however, Hold Security reports the hackers captured a staggering 1.2 billion usernames and passwords, and more than 500 million email addresses.

According to its website, Hold Security says “As long as your data is somewhere on the World Wide Web, you may be affected by this breach.”
The statement continues “Your data … could have been stolen from the service or goods providers to whom you entrust your personal information, from your employers, even from your friends and family.”
Below are BBB’s tips from the Stop.Think.Connect. campaign on how to protect your personal information online:

  • Secure your accounts: Ask for protection beyond passwords. Many account providers now offer additional ways for you verify who you are before you conduct business on that site.
  • Make passwords long and strong: Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create a more secure password.
  • Unique account, unique password: Separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cyber criminals.
  • Write it down and keep it safe: Everyone can forget a password. Keep a list that’s stored in a safe, secure place away from your computer.
  • Own your online presence: When available, set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s ok to limit how and with whom you share information.

For more tips you can trust, contact your BBB at or call 509-455-4200.