[News] Major leaks expose billions of email accounts

A massive data breach leaked more than 3.2 billion email addresses and passwords in cleartext. In particular, according to Cybernews, as many as 200 million Gmail addresses and 450 million Yahoo email addresses could be vulnerable.

This means that if you have a Gmail or Yahoo account (or any other cloud email provider like Hotmail, AOL, or similar), it would be a good idea to change those passwords right now. 

If you want to check your email addresses to see if they’re included in the breach, you can enter them in the Cybernews personal data leak checker. You can also check your email address (and sign up for notifications about future breaches) at the website Have I Been Pwned?.

Meanwhile, a breach at Accellion, a cloud-based provider that was running an out-of-date secure file transfer application, may have exposed the data from potentially hundreds of banks, government agencies, and corporations all over the world.

The Accellion breach is particularly worrisome as the exposed data may include financial records, health data, and other highly-sensitive information.

While it is too soon to know whether consumers can do anything to protect themselves (as it appears too soon to know which companies have been affected), it might not be a bad idea to change your online banking and credit card account passwords as well.

In other news

  • Bitcoin news bits. The University of Cambridge Judge Business School’s Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index suggests that mining bitcoin now consumes more electricity than the entire country of Argentina, calling into question how a virtual currency could actually be a huge energy-waster. Bloomberg reports that a third of the mining happens in Xinjiang, China, where energy prices are low but power is generated from burning coal.

    Meanwhile, the mayor of Miami, Florida is looking into giving city employees the option of being paid in bitcoin. And Tesla has just purchased $1.5 worth of Bitcoin and may allow customers to pay using the cryptocurrency in the future. Who knows — maybe there will be a lot more Teslas on the streets of Miami soon!

  • Visiting China? No more BBC World News. The BBC reports China has banned the BBC World Service. In what looks like a tit-for-tat response to a recent ban on China’s global news service in the U.K., China’s State Film, TV, and Radio Administration cited BBC reports on the Chinese handling of coronavirus and the questionable treatment of ethnic minority Uighurs as damaging to “China’s national interests.” Tourist hotels and diplomatic compounds—the only places to see any foreign news services in China—along with Hong Kong radio will no longer broadcast any BBC World News services in a move seen as curtailing media freedom.
  • Messaging while asleep. Researchers are exploring ways to communicate with people while they’re asleep and dreaming, and allow dreamers to reply. Gizmodo reports that scientists have made inroads into sending messages back and forth with people in the middle of a lucid dream. (Lucid dreams are those where the person asleep is aware of their dream and can modify or interact with it.)

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[News] Major leaks expose billions of email accounts .

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