Reports early Wednesday of millions of Gmail addresses and passwords being leaked had users of the popular email Web app understandably alarmed — but Google says the danger has been greatly exaggerated. "We found that less than 2% of the username and password combinations might have worked," the company wrote in a blog post, "and our automated anti-hijacking systems would have blocked many of those login attempts."
The post also explained that the "dump" of emails and passwords wasn't from any kind of leak in Gmail itself, but was likely harvested from "other sources" over time — smaller hacked sites, for instance, or malware on users' own computers. Since many people reuse emails and passwords on other sites, such lists can be used by hackers to gain unauthorized access. If you might have been affected by the leak, Google should have already alerted you, locking down your account and requiring a password change. But if you've been meaning to change it anyway, there's no time like the present — better safe than sorry.
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