The country of Germany has confirmed the biggest data breach in the country’s history. Over 18 million email accounts have been stolen and passwords have been comprised by hackers.
German Press, Der Spiegel, broke news of the horrific data breach on Thursday, April 3rd. German authorities confirmed the mass hacking of private data belonging to German citizens, and data of major Internet corporations, in both Germany and numerous other countries.
In January of 2014 researchers uncovered over 16 million comprised email accounts belonging to German users, unknowingly while researching a botnet, a series of infected computer belonging to one host. Now months later, authorities in the northwestern city of Verden unveiled a list of about 18 million stolen email addresses and passwords.
The original report from Der Spiegel suggests the same cyber criminals responsible for hacking over 16 million emails, are the same thefts responsible for the recent hacking of 18 million user credentials. Reports also suggest the hackers may be based in one of the Baltic countries.
Investigators report some of the hacked email accounts were used to send spam emails, and multiple other email and password combinations were used to hack into users online shipping portals, possibly stealing personal finical details. In result of the massive theft, German officials warned users to take extra security measures in order to prevent further cyber crime.
Reports estimate that more than three million of comprised credentials belong solely to German citizens. Of the comprised list, there are millions of other international domains, including .COM’s and numerous others. As the investigation proceeds, visible numbers could rise.
While German officials/spokespersons responses to press are vague, the German prosecutor investigating the recent actions of cyber criminals informed the country’s IT specialists, Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), that additional security measures need to be taken to ensure the safety and security of online Internet users.