Email services such as Yahoo Mail, Gmail, and Hotmail have been compromised to a hack, revealing hundreds of millions of usernames and passwords, a security expert told Reuters.
Alex Holden, a security expert from Hold Security reported that a huge data breach has occurred consisting of 272.3 million online accounts, and they are being traded in Russia. Russia’s own email provider Mail.ru also accounts for the majority of hacked accounts at 57 million, along with 40 million Yahoo mail, 33 million Hotmail, and 24 million Gmail accounts.
Also, hundreds of thousands of Chinese and German email addresses along with thousands of usernames/passwords belonging to US retail and manufacturing companies have been reportedly compromised by the data breach.
Holden collided on the discovery after he found out that a Russian hacker nicknamed “The Collector” is selling the data for less than $1. However, Holden was able to make the hacker turn over the data for free as he ensured that he’d big up the hacker online.
“This information is potent,” Holden said. “It is floating around in the underground and this person has shown he’s willing to give the data away to people who are nice to him. These credentials can be abused multiple times.”
According to Madina Tayupova, a spokeswoman from Mail.ru no live combinations of usernames and passwords were found from Mail.ru’s initial checks that match existing emails.
Also, a Microsoft spokesperson said, “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.”
Note that, the total percentage of accounts compromised compared to the total accounts affected is relatively low. However, it’s a common tendency of people to reuse the passwords which could let the breach have a wider reaching effect. So, if you’re still using your old password, it is high time that you consider changing it.