Tech round-up: 5 million Gmail usernames, passwords leaked online; Apple joins smartwatch category

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Saturday, 13 September 2014 - Last Updated on September 13, 2014

Almost five million Google Gmail addresses and passwords from various websites were leaked online this week.

The so-called ‘credentials dumping’ is believed to have been the result of years of phishing efforts and not a security breach on Gmail. The database was posted as a text file to the Russian online forum Bitcoin Security.

Google posted on its online security blog that it has “protected the affected accounts and have required users to reset their passwords.”

“We found that less than 2% of the username and password combinations might have worked, and our automated anti-hijacking systems would have blocked many of those login attempts,” Google’s security team wrote in a blog post.

Google said users have nothing to worry about. “We’re always monitoring for these dumps so we can respond quickly to protect our users.”

“The security of our users’ information is a top priority for us,” a Google spokesperson told The Next Web. “We have no evidence that our systems have been compromised, but whenever we become aware that accounts may have been, we take steps to help those users secure Relevant Products/Services their accounts.”

Google said it would stop sign-in attempts from unfamiliar locations and devices and assured that “users can review sign-in activities and confirm the action.”

According to Danish cybercrime expert Peter Kruse of the CSIS Security Group, the leak likely originated from various sources and that most of the leaked passwords are more than three years old.

Google said confirmed that the credentials were obtained through a combination of other sources. “For instance, if you reuse the same username and password across websites, and one of those websites gets hacked, your credentials could be used to log into the others. Or attackers can use malware or phishing schemes to capture login credentials.”

Several security experts said the leak was a reminder to internet users to use a two-step verification system when signing into Google services, change passwords frequently and not use the same password across websites and services.

To enable 2-step verification on your Google account, click here.

Apple Watch available next year

Apple finally made the big move and joined the world of wearable devices as it unveiled the Apple Watch, an iPhone-compatible smartwatch that will hit the markets in early 2015.

The Apple Watch features a rectangular screen with one knob and a single button. It works seamlessly with iOS 8 devices to send and receive messages, play music like a mini iPod, view social network notifications, simplified apps and Siri from the iPhone.

Other apps in the Apple Watch include iMessages, Health, Calendar, Weather, Mail, Photos, Camera’s shutter button, Passbook and Apple Maps. It also has a fitness tracker with heart-rate measurements and monitor.

The display of the Apple Watch comes in two sizes –38mm or 1.5-inches and 42mm or 1.65-inches.

Apple Watch collections are available in stainless steel, silver aluminum, space black stainless steel, space gray aluminum, 18-karat yellow gold and 18-karat rose gold. It has a customisable watch face that can change colors, design elements and add functionalities.

Like most smartwatches, the Apple Watch is designed to be a companion device to the iPhone and meant to stay paired and connected for most features.

The Apple watch will reportedly retail for $349 in the US.

Maui Hermitanio (92 Posts)

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