Author: Joey Sylvester


In what is being dubbed the "Mother of all Breaches," security researchers have discovered a compilation of an estimated 26 billion records.1 The records are likely to contain significant duplication and appear to be compiled from past data breaches, including hundreds of millions from large organizations and government entities from several countries, including the US.2

Data breaches of this magnitude can have severe and often unknown consequences for individuals and organizations alike. The potential risks include identity theft, financial fraud, reputational damage, regulatory scrutiny, third-party liability and more. For impacted parties, it's crucial to take action and attempt to mitigate these risks.

At this time, the breach has NOT been attributed to a specific vulnerability or provider as a single point of failure. However, it's essential to vigilantly watch for alerts from the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)3 or government agencies, which may provide additional information about the breach — such as a specific misconfiguration or vulnerability — that led to the root cause.

Recommended actions for organizations

To protect your organization, we recommend taking the following actions:

  • Place your insurance carrier on notice if you suspect your organization's data may have been compromised in this breach. This step will help determine whether you have the necessary coverage and support in case of any impact.
  • Review vulnerability scans for any outstanding common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs) that require patching. Keeping your systems up to date with the latest security patches significantly helps prevent potential breaches.
  • Deploy multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible, especially for remote access to the network, email and privileged user accounts. MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring additional verification beyond just a password.
  • Reset passwords to limit credential-stuffing attacks, in which hackers use stolen credentials from one breach to gain unauthorized access to other accounts. Additionally, consider deploying a password manager to generate and securely store complex passwords.
  • Train employees to be vigilant against phishing campaigns. Phishing attacks are a common method hackers use to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information. Educating employees about the signs of phishing and how to respond can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to such attacks.

Recommended actions for consumers

For consumers, we recommend these steps:

  • Deploy MFA to personal accounts whenever possible.
  • Check the security settings on your mobile device for any passwords that may have been compromised in a data breach — and reset them.
  • Use a password manager to help generate and securely store complex passwords. This tool makes it easier to maintain strong and unique passwords for each of your accounts.
  • Consider credit-monitoring services to stay informed about any suspicious activity on your financial accounts. Credit monitoring can provide an early warning system for potential identity theft or fraudulent activity.

Author Information


1Artnz, Peter. "'The Mother of All Breaches': 26 Billion Records Found Online [Updated]," Malwarebytes, updated 26 Jan 2024.

2Dhaliwal, Jasdev. "26 Billion Records Released in 'The Mother of All Breaches'," McAfee, 24 Jan 2024.

3"Cybersecurity Alerts & Advisories," Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, accessed 1 Feb 2024.