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Almost 4 million Gmail user IDs and passwords stolen

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September 11, 2014

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Almost 5 million Gmail user IDs and passwords were hacked into, stolen and leaked September 9 on a Russian Bitcoin security forum.

According to Peter Kruse, a Danish cybersecurity expert, the data Relevant Products/Services forum likely originated from a number of security breaches, not just one.

Most of the passwords were more than three years old, he added. Even though the data appears to be outdated, internet security experts still recommend that people regularly update their passwords in the event of such security breaches.

They also suggest that Gmail users take advantage of the two-factor authentication system, which offers an added layer of security, according to Google.

To be sure, Gmail and other Google services have been the target of numerous hacking attacks in recent weeks and months.

We reached out to Google to learn more about this latest security breach. “The confidentiality of our users' information is a top priority for us,” a Google spokesperson said. “We have no evidence that our systems have been compromised, but whenever we become aware that accounts may have been, we take steps to help those users secure their accounts.”

Other recent high-profile hacking incidents include a malware attack on Salesforce users, a security breach on JP Morgan Chase's computer systems, the publication of nude photos stolen from a number of celebrities' iCloud accounts, and payments-related security breaches at Home Depot, Goodwill and Target.

In the wake of Tuesday's leak, many news sites recommended that Gmail users check IsLeaked.com to see whether their personal information was among the data that had been stolen.

By midday Wednesday, the IsLeaked.com Web site was unavailable, presumably overloaded with visitors attempting to check their account information all at the same time.

Like several other technology companies, Google must play a non-stop game of cat-and-mouse to stay ahead of spam, hacking attempts and other various security breaches.

For instance, after rolling out support for non-Latin characters in Gmail last month, Google announced that it would begin rejecting emails with combinations of letters determined to be suspicious under the Unicode Consortium's Highly Restricted specifications.

According to Google insiders, there are no indications that Google's internal systems were broken into or otherwise illicitly accessed in this latest data leak.

Instead, such security breaches could be the result of someone stealing usernames and passwords from malware-infected computers.

That could explain why the list published Tuesday appears to have been pulled together from a number of older lists that had been assembled over time.

We are still looking into this and will update you on this story once we learn more of what happened.

Source: The Bitcoin Products Forum.

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