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German officials confirm 18 million emails and passwords stolen

NEWS ALERT! 18 million email accounts hacked in Germany  – stolen details used to make online purchases – website available to check which email accounts have been compromised Four German prosecutors in the German city of Verden have unearthed a mass hacking of private data, involving 18 million email addresses and passwords. The revelation follows a similar discovery in January of this year when the same four prosecutors revealed the theft of 16 million account details. The authorities are keeping quiet on the details at the moment other than saying that some of the email passwords have been used to make online purchases in cases where the same password had been used for different accounts. Reading between the lines this suggests that the theft of the email addresses also led hackers to accounts which held money, whether this was banking information or some form of online payment. It’s believed that at least approximately 3 million of the compromised accounts belong to German citizens, though the eventual number may well be higher. The German authorities, specifically, the Federal Office for Information Security has created a website to help people find out whether or not their email account has been hacked. You can access the site by clicking here.  The website is in German but if you access it via the Google Chrome browser you can get a translation. To find out whether your email address has been compromised, you simply add your email address into a field that is provided. Tim Griese, of the Federal Office for Information Security, has apparently attributed the mass hack to malware which has infected computers. If anything, the attack reveals the importance of ensuring you have the best possible defence on your computer that identifies and stops malware and also updates regularly. Verden is an ancient medieval town in North Western Germany with a population of just over 25,000. It’s unclear why prosecutors in this area would be investigating potential major hacks unless there was some local connection. But that said, hacking knows no geographical boundaries and it’s possible that researchers in the district discovered the hack and passed the information over to local prosecutors. Stay safe, stay alert.
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Written by Steve Bell

Steve has a background in IT and business journalism and has written extensively for both the UK national and trade press including The Guardian, Independent-on-Sunday, The Times, The Register, MicroScope and Computer Weekly. He's also worked for most of the world's largest IT companies producing content producing. He has a particular focus on IT security and has produced several magazines in this area.

More articles by Steve Bell


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