Reddit user data compromised in sophisticated hack

Reddit security breach

In the early years, the company said it had fewer features and thus the "most significant data contained in this backup are account credentials, email addresses, and all content from way back then".

Reddit uses two-factor authentication (2FA) to authenticate its primary access points for code and infrastructure, but Reddit said SMS-based authentication, which was targeted by the attacker, is "not almost as secure" as the company thought.

In other words, the breach appears to have only exposed email address information for existing users and scrambled password data for long-time Reddit fans from over a decade ago.

Reddit says it plans to notify all affected users and is encouraging users to reset passwords for accounts that might still be using decade-old passwords. This data is less critical, but it could prove troublesome for users who haven't changed their password in a while.

And while unrelated to the data incident, Reddit is also hiring for a couple of security-related positions that should help continue to shore up its site against future threats. The digests connect a username to the associated email address and contain suggested posts from select popular and safe-for-work subreddits you subscribe to. Together, these details could.

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The site said it discovered in June that hackers compromised several employee's accounts to gain access to databases and logs. So that means if you created your account after this date, you should be in the clear. The attacker broke into some of its systems and got access to some user data, but did not manage to modify any of the site's content. What's interesting about the incident is that it showcases once again why relying on mobile text messages (SMS) for two-factor authentication (2FA) can lull companies and end users into a false sense of security.

But it's the second part of the breach which could affect a far larger amount of people, and may have serious consequences for those who use Reddit under a pseudonym. If you used the same password on other sites, you should change it there, too.

"From phishing scams and dictionary attacks - where fraudsters try certain common passwords based on the user's information - to synthetic identities, as little as an email address can go a long way in the hands of a bad actor".

The internet is forever, and, yes, that apparently includes your old Reddit private messages. In what one can only assume is a PR move, Reddit is refusing to publicly reveal the extent of the data breach. The company said that since the intrusion it has bolstered its monitoring systems and has reported the breach to law enforcement, which is investigating.

If you don't have two-factor authentication, it's a good idea to use it on your most important accounts, like Facebook or your bank, which can usually be activated in the settings page.

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