Breaking down MOAB: The massive 26 billion data breach

January 28th · 3 min read

Kester Thompson
Kester Thompson

Have you heard about the “Mother of all breaches?”

A data leak containing 26 billion pieces of personal information has caused mass panic. And while it’s not as serious as everyone made out, there are still some things you need to know - and to do.

News broke last week that a security researcher, Bob Diachenko from, found 26 billion stolen records sitting in 1,000’s of files in what was dramatically called the “Mother of all data breaches (MOAB).” Just how on earth 12 terabytes of data were so easily exposed online is still not completely clear, but what is certain is that it caused a huge wave of panic and hysteria.

So what happened?

It initially appeared that around 26 billion customer records had been stolen from more than 3,800 different websites, platforms, and companies. After some investigation, however, it turns out these records had actually already been stolen and exposed online over the past years, and now someone had simply collected them all together in one place (how convenient!). In other words, this was kind of old news recycled. Well, almost - but not quite.

So what has actually been leaked, and where?

We’re talking here about email addresses, passwords, addresses, phone numbers, and possibly even credit card details. It’s such a huge amount of data that we don't really know yet. The 3,800 breaches include records from X/Twitter (281M), LinkedIn (251M), Wattpad (271M), Zynga (217M), Canva (143M)... the list goes on and on.

What we DO know is that all this information is sitting online and is for sale very cheaply to hackers and scammers.

And that’s the risk here. This information has already been leaked in the past, but it’s now readily available to thousands of hackers, not just a select few.

An individual who has just realized their data has been breached

What should you do?

If you’re a Guardio Premium customer, and your data is involved, then we most likely alerted you when the data was initially leaked. And if you’ve fixed and resolved those leaks, then you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Still, we advise you to stay alert and be aware of suspicious phone calls, text messages, and emails from people or companies you don’t know, who may use personal information to try and gain your trust.

Not a Guardio Premium customer? Run a security scan right now to see if we found any of your data. It takes less than 2 minutes.

If you’re in any doubt at all, we recommend you change your passwords to your online accounts - and do not reuse passwords, whether you’re a Guardio customer or not. Be sure you don't use the same password for more than one account - keep them unique.

You may find that you’re suddenly prompted to log into or verify online accounts, or you may receive notifications that an account has been suspended. Look twice, be vigilant, be suspicious. These are some of the favorite tricks hackers use to hijack accounts. Again, if you’re a Guardio customer, you’ll be safe from such scams. If you’re not, well, now’s a perfect time to start your 7-day free trial.

If you discover your financial data has been leaked online, contact your bank or card provider immediately and tell them about the leak. Consider canceling your cards if you’re worried. And check your accounts and statements for any unusual activity or transactions you don’t recognize.

A data breach is always around the corner!

Don't wait for it to happen to you, start your 7-day free trial with Guardio and secure your data today.

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