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CNET Update: Russian hacker gang steals 1.2B passwords

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CNET Update: Russian hacker gang steals 1.2B passwords

2:53 /

An unprecedented data heist highlights the need for stronger password security. Meanwhile, Timex creates a smartwatch that doesn't need a smartphone.

There's a pretty good chance that hackers in Russia have your passwords. I'm Bridget Carey and this is your CNET Update. It's time to come to terms with the fact that companies do not have what it takes to keep our data safe from hackers. A security firm has uncovered what appears to be the largest known collection of stolen Internet passwords and user credentials. Hold Security, based in Wisconsin, says a Russian gang stole 1.2 billion user name and password combinations along with 500 million email addresses. It was plucked over time from 420,000 websites. The security firm is not releasing which websites were compromised, but it claims that it includes well-known sites. The firm says that some of these sites are still vulnerable. So even if you did change your password, it can still be hacked again until there's a fix. Some companies have been notified of the stolen records. This gang of 12 Russian hackers pulled off the wide scale data heist, thanks to help from software that combed the web for weak spots. An army of computers ran programs that poked at websites to find a vulnerability and when a security flaw was found, hackers went in full force to pry open the websites database. The security firm that revealed the information is also trying to profit off this discovery. For a monthly fee, you can sign up to see if your information was hacked, and a direction to this page, with grammatical errors. Yeah, that's nice. Right now, if you use a password on multiple sites, it's a good idea to change them. Come up with a system to not repeat your passwords. Especially for sites that have your credit card info or other sensitive data. And don't use basic dictionary words or your favorite team name. Be creative. Create a code phrase with numbers. And then prepare to change it again in a month. Okay, so after bumming you out, I'll make it up to you with some fun smartwatch news. The original Pebble watch now comes in three new vivid neon colors all for $150 a piece. Motorola's upcoming Android wear smart watch, the Moto 360 could come with a wireless charging dock. There's a leaked photo from the Italian blog Mr. Gadget. It shows off a possible charging dock for the watch, which comes out later this year. And Timex is creating its own smartwatch, that will not require a smartphone. It's good for runners who want to use fitness tracking apps while listening to music. And it also has built in GPS. It's called the Timex Ironman One GPS. Plus, it gets its own cellular signal on AT&T's network. And it is a bit pricy, costing $400. It comes out in November. That's your tech news update. You can get more details at cnet.com. From our studios in New York, I'm Bridget Carey. [MUSIC]

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