Russian hackers grab millions of data records - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Russian hackers grab millions of data records

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Records from more than 400,000 websites were pulled by hackers. (Source: FOX) Records from more than 400,000 websites were pulled by hackers. (Source: FOX)

LONDON (FOX) - Your personal information - financial records, credit card numbers - you name it, may be in the hands of Russian hackers.

It is being called the biggest heist of Internet data in history, including 1.2 billion user name and password combinations, 540 million unique email addresses, all culled from more than 400,000 websites.

All of this could mean big headaches, loss of privacy and added costs for consumers as well as billions lost by corporations who have to make good on all of this fraud.

"This is much more serious than any credit card breach I've heard about," said Avivah Litan, a Gartner Security analyst.

It was pulled off by a small group of hackers working out of a town in south central Russia.

It's thought the Russian government is not involved, but they also don't help much to chase after hackers.

"They'll probably pay it lip service but at the end of the day guys like this will continue to operate," said Morgan Wright, a security analyst.

The cyber gang tapped into any website they could crack from big Fortune 500 companies to small web pages.

They reportedly haven't used the data yet for their own gain but are sending waves of spam at users of social web pages.

All of this revealed by a computer security firm in Milwaukee which decided to go public before turning the information over to authorities.

The fear is this cyber war could be hard to win.

"Until the industry gets serious about security across the board we will continue to see these stories every week," Wright said.

Last October hackers in Vietnam got their hands on 200 million personal records at an American brokerage firm.

And in December 40 million credit card numbers and other details were stolen from Target store accounts by hackers in eastern Europe.

With all this at risk, a huge digital security industry has been spawned. Even the Milwaukee firm that uncovered the Russian scam is offering to check data at a price. There is a lot to protect.

"The bottom line is we're using the Internet, it's wide open," Litan said.

Security experts tell us companies have to get away from using passwords and instead use better security. In the meantime we have to keep changing those passwords, like it or not!

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