Millions Of Email Accounts Compromised By Hacker

An anonymous Russian hacker has taken to the internet to sell millions of stolen account information from large email service providers like Gmail and Hotmail. Posting on a specific dark web forum, the information was picked up by researchers from Hold Security, who attempted to verify whether the data was real and negotiated with the hacker. The hacker was willing to hand over his large amount of data for as little as $1, and eventually compromised to giving researchers the data in return for likes and votes on his social media page on VKontakte, a Russian social media site comparable to Facebook. 

The hacked account data contains everything from usernames to passwords, spanning across most email service providers. Yahoo Mail is said to have forty million hacked accounts from this hacker’s data alone, with Gmail and Hotmail standing at around 30 million accounts each. These companies, along with Russia's leading email service provider are investigating the hacked accounts to see whether they are still active. In a statement to Tech Insider, a Microsoft spokesperson stated that:

"Unfortunately, there are places on the internet where leaked and stolen credentials are posted, and when we come across these or someone sends them to us, we act to protect customers. Microsoft has security measures in place to detect account compromise and requires additional information to verify the account owner and help them regain sole access to their account."

Users of these services are advised to strengthen their passwords, and add a secondary authentication to ensure that their accounts remain secure. Affected account holders should be notified of steps to follow by the email service provider. 

Consumer Affairs