Online security has been a major concern of both people and corporations since the internet became a regular part of life. To facilitate transactions online and allow people to access their financial accounts, companies developed passwords as a means to protect data. This data could be as important as name, email, Social Security number, birth date and phone number.
Almost as quickly as the password system was developed, thieves began to exploit it with sophisticated ways to unlock these passwords. Some breaches of consumer accounts at large companies have exposed millions of records. Customers face a risk they may be stolen from, and companies are exposed to liability.
The online protection industry has tried to make the password system more effective by adding layers of information that have to be provided by consumers, but it has barely worked.
What is something the United States and Russia have in common? They rank among the countries with the most leaked passwords, meaning their internet users are at high risk of having their accounts compromised by data breaches that can expose them to identity theft and other cybercrimes.
Russia is by far the riskiest country for exposed login information, but the United States and other European countries rank among the top 10. In these countries, extra diligence is clearly required to ensure that emails, bank details, social media profiles and other online accounts are secured.
Passwords are often obtained through breached databases, such as the one discovered at web-hosting company GoDaddy on November 17, 2021, that affected nearly 1.2 million of its customers. According to NordPass, the password management division of Nord Security, China and the United States had by far the largest numbers of exposed databases in 2020.
To determine the country with the most leaked passwords overall, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from a report on passwords published by NordPass, which compiled the data in partnership with what it describes as “independent researchers specializing in research of cybersecurity incidents.” The researchers evaluated a 4TB database and devised a risk index, sorting countries into three tiers: low, medium and high. Per capita and total numbers of leaks span a period of approximately 10 years.
There is not much a person can do to avoid database breaches, but for general password security, internet subscribers should avoid easy-to-crack passwords and try to use unique passwords for each online account. Regularly changing passwords, though inconvenient, can add an extra layer of security.
Here is the data on Russia:
- Leaks per capita: 19.9
- Total leaks: 2,867,917,611
- Risk level: High
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