The bad news: this is the biggest dump ever known of usernames and passwords available to fraudsters.

The not-quite-so-bad news: this list of 3 billion records is a compilation of what's already been out there on the dark web — only now it's all in one place.

So this is a reminder to update your old passwords, never use the same password on different sites, and consider subscribing to a password manager.


Want to refresh your memory about passwords and the dark web? Click on the thumbprint below to take a true/false quiz.

FBI alert to all Windows 7 users

The FBI warns those running Microsoft Windows 7 on their PCs that they face significant risks from hackers and should upgrade to Windows 10 or another more recent version of Windows immediately. 200 million computers globally are still running Windows 7, which was released in 2009 and has been discontinued by Microsoft.


Here's an example of the risks. Hackers recently gained control of the water system in Oldsman, Florida, and briefly programmed computers to increase the amount of lye flowing into the town's drinking water. Each of the plant's computers was running Windows 7 and all were secured with the same password. An alert employee prevented the deadly action.

Check out this social media chart

With current controversies around social media platforms, it's worth noting that our tastes are changing. This infographic from Chartr shows the month and year popular social media sites peaked. (The chart does not reflect audience size.) Facebook peaked eight years ago, Twitter declined and rebounded, and may be declining again, and Reddit and TikTok are now the fastest-growing of all US social media platforms. Worth noting: Facebook owns four of the top five US social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger.

Cyber bytes

Last year, employees at three out of four employers were victims of dangerous phishing emails. Proofpoint says hackers were more successful using fake emails and texts to steal information in 2020 than ever before. ...  Wow! Back in 1984, Soviet intelligence was able to "read" documents created by the US embassy in Moscow by using magnetometers planted in the back of employees' typewriters. The New York Times says the devices were able to detect tiny disturbances in the Earth's magnetic field and were sensitive enough to record every keystroke. 

What questions do you have about staying safe online?

Here's what some of your colleagues are asking.

I keep getting calls to my cell, when I answer no one is there and when I call the number back they are disconnected. Numbers are from my area code. — Louie N.

Scammers often create fake numbers that appear to use the same area code and prefix as your mobile number, thinking you'll be more apt to answer the call. One solution is to use an app like Nomorobo, Hiya, Truecaller, NumberGuru, and RoboKiller to block unknown calls and texts. Mr. Number, Caller ID, and Numler are among the apps you can use to identify callers you don't recognize. Most of the apps require a paid subscription.  

Is there real value to paying for anti-virus software for my router? — Robert M. 

Modern routers, which are those electronic boxes used to bring the internet and cable TV into your home, are well protected. The most important step you can take is to assign your router a long, complex password. Check the manual to learn how. If you've lost the manual, do a web search for the router's make and model. Many newer routers allow you to approve any device that connects to it and to create a separate password for guests, limiting their ability to modify the router's settings. 

Can hackers get your personal information from Facebook? — Imogene C. 

You bet they can. Hackers love Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social platforms because so many of us post personal information they can use to steal our identities. Protect yourself. In your Facebook "settings" panel, make sure only "friends" can see what you post, not "the public." Then, avoid posting personal information like your upcoming travel plans and photos that identify your kids' activities. Also skip those Facebook polls, surveys, and quizzes. 

How secure is Keychain on my Mac? — Linda S. 

Keychain is the place where Mac computers store many usernames and passwords. It's secure, all right, as long as the password to access your Mac is strong and entering that password is required to access your Mac every time you turn it on. If you use Apple's Safari browser and misplace a password, Keychain should have a record of it. 

Have a cybersecurity question? Let us know!

We view Aware Force from Xtreme Solutions as an extension of our commitment to keeping our clients informed and empowered.


Xtreme Solutions is powered by certified and highly experienced professionals in information technology, cybersecurity, and telecommunications services and solutions.


XSI's Cyber Range — I.C.E. (Integrated Cyber Environment) solution offers a virtual cyber defense environment designed to train cybersecurity professionals and decision-makers in securing national military and civilian networks against all forms of cyberattacks. The range is an integral component of Xtreme Solutions’ comprehensive cyber defense solutions.


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Hervia Ingram

Xtreme Solutions

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