Colossal Collection #1 Cyber Breach Exposes 773 Million Email Addresses

Was your digital data compromised? Probably. Here is what you can do to protect yourself and your family.

News of the “Collection #1” data dump has been circulating and reportedly contains 773 million e-mail addresses and 21 million passwords. While this information is troubling, we wanted to remind everyone of some best practices that can help mitigate the downside effect.

What happened

Security researcher Troy Hunt recently uncovered and analyzed a collection of e-mail addresses and passwords that has been dubbed “Collection #1.”  In total, over 87GB of data contained a treasure trove of information that had been compiled from various older data breaches.

Want to see if your digital data has been compromised? Check out the site HaveIBeenPwned. It was created and is maintained by Hunt. It’s a great free resource people can reference to determine if their e-mail address has been included in a data breach.

4 tips to protect yourself and your compromised data

Data breaches and data dumps are all too common and these security incidents can create a sense of helplessness when it comes to protecting and securing your digital identity. However, there is good news. There are proactive things you can do to protect yourself, your cloud accounts, and your digital identity.


  1. Update your digital password. If your e-mail address shows up as being part of a data breach on the HaveIBeenPwned site, you should immediately change your password for any accounts impacted. Unique passwords that are long and strong go a long way to protecting your accounts from being compromised. Password managers, like LastPass or Dashlane are great way to manage all your passwords. [Learn more about creating a strong digital password].
  2. Use Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)Even if a cybercriminal has your password, if you have MFA enabled on your accounts, they can’t get in without that second form of authentication. Enable this additional security setting on your email, banking and financial accounts, iCloud/Apple account, online file sharing portals, and anywhere else where you can. [Here is a primer on MFA].
  3. Never use your personal information as the answer to security questions or account reset questions. Since bad actors now know your social security number, address, and date of birth (DOB),this information should never be used as an answer to security or account reset questions. Instead, use something random or, better yet, use a random sequence of numbers/letters/symbols as the answer.
  4. Beware of phishing related to the attack. With all these big data breaches, cybercriminals have a lot of useful information that can be used to compile full profiles on any specific individual. This personal dossier can be used to target you specifically. For example, a hacker can send you a convincing spear-phishing email with a link or attachment. That link or attachment may contain malware or lead to a phishing site designed to infect your device or steal your passwords to other accounts.

How can Rubica help?

Cybercriminals will sometimes sit on this stolen information and use it later, so attempts to access your accounts or impersonate you may not be immediate. Keep Rubica running on all your devices for an additional layer of security.

If you’re a Rubica customer, Rubica can prevent known malware from being downloaded, block you from going to malicious sites unknowingly, and stop those sites or programs from accessing information on your devices or information you type while on those devices (i.e. passwords). Rubica Private Client customers have our concierge support team on call for any help you may need, now or later.

As an additional security measure, anytime you’re using public Wi-Fi, connect via Rubica’s virtual private network (VPN) to protect insecure connections. Doing this makes it harder for hackers to steal your login credentials or redirect your computer to a phony banking site. [Learn more about feeling safe on public Wi-Fi].

Not yet a Rubica customer? What are you waiting for? Find the right plan for you today.