|IMAGE: ZHOU JUNXIANG - IMAGINECHINA VIA Ap|
More than 250 million email usernames and passwords have been breached and are being used by "Russia's criminal underworld," according to a Reuters report.
Hold Security's Alex Holden, who reported the data breach, told Reuters that the breach affects many of the email addresses on Russia's popular Mail.ru service, as well as addresses from Google, Yahoo and Microsoft.
After eliminating duplicates, Holden said, the cache contained nearly 57 million Mail.ru accounts - a big chunk of the 64 million monthly active email users Mail.ru said it had at the end of last year. It also included tens of millions of credentials for the world's three big email providers, Gmail, Microsoft and Yahoo, plus hundreds of thousands of accounts at German and Chinese email providers.
In addition to those mentioned, there were also thousands of email addresses from German and Chinese email servers included in the lot.
The breach is the latest in a string of large-scale incidents. Last year, the data of more than 100 million people was stolen from nine companies, including the Wall Street Journal and J.P. Morgan, the largest-ever such breach in the United States.
"As soon as we have enough information we will warn the users who might have been affected," Mail.ru said in the email, adding that Mail.ru's initial checks found no live combinations of user names and passwords which match existing emails.
Yahoo Mail credentials numbered 40 million, or 15 percent of the 272 million unique IDs discovered. Meanwhile, 33 million, or 12 percent, were Microsoft Hotmail accounts and 9 percent, or nearly 24 million, were Gmail, according to Holden.
Thousands of other stolen username/password combinations appear to belong to employees of some of the largest U.S. banking, manufacturing and retail companies, he said.
Stolen online account credentials are to blame for 22 percent of big data breaches, according to a recent survey of 325 computer professionals by the Cloud Security Alliance.
In 2014, Holden, a Ukrainian-American who specialises in Eastern European . threats, uncovered a cache of 1.2 billion unique credentials that marked the world's biggest-ever recovery of stolen accounts.Contributing sources:
Millions of email names, passwords hacked in giant data breach, report BY MARCUS GILMER
My People have been Lost Sheep
Doctors After the Collapse? - What can we do? Click Here!
Protandim - Healing, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory.
Protandim Secrets that Frank Robinson wants you to know.