Imagine if every person in the United States was subject to a computer hack. Now, multiply that figure - think 313 million - by four, and you have the victims of what could be the biggest heist of digital credentials ever.
A new report indicates Russian criminals stole 1.2 billion Internet user names and passwords from over 420,000 websites.
To boot, the security breach was not discovered by the United States government, but instead by a private, Milwaukee-based security firm.
Early reports from Hold Security, the company that identified the theft, indicate that the Russian crime gang was not seeking financial data.
Instead, they used the stolen usernames and passwords to generate spam posts on social media, peddling bogus products like weight loss pills.
The massive breach, albeit frightening, highlights the laissez-faire approach many take to personal online security, CNN's Poppy Harlow said on "New Day" Wednesday.
Harlow paraphrased the message Alex Holden, founder of Hold Security, told CNN MONEY: We keep our homes tidy but we don't keep our online lives tidy.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO KEEP YOURSELF SAFE ONLINE:
USE MULTIPLE EMAIL ADDRESSES
Holden told CNN MONEY, he recommends having several unique email addresses for your online activities.
If this seems too cumbersome ...
USE DIFFERENT PASSWORDS
It may seem daunting at first, but embracing the idea of different passwords for various sites can keep you safer in the long run.
Using two-factor authentication to sign into online services is a simple way to mitigate risk of a hack, Eric Cowperthwaite, an executive at network security provider Core Security, told CNN MONEY.
This method requires you to enter a second password, usually generated by your smartphone, upon login.
RELATED: Russian criminals steal 1.2 billion passwords
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