Breach Brief – Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Email

Published On May 7, 2016 | By Tom Huskerson | Breach Briefs

gmailIts likely that you have either a Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo email account. Its also likely that it has been compromised.  According to Reuters over 270 million stolen Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, Hotmail and other email account credentials are floating around in Russia’s cyber criminal underground. Email credentials are your username and password.

These stolen email credentials were discovered by Hold Security. Researchers discovered a Russian hacker going by the name of “the Collector,” saying that he was ready to give away the credentials.  “The Collector” offered the credentials to cybercrime expert Alex Holden for free just for the publicity. Holden previously uncovered breaches at Adobe, JP Morgan and Target.

The total haul of the theft was estimated to be over one billion records but the security company eliminated duplicates lowering the total number of  credentials to just 272.3 million.

Yahoo mailMost of the credentials were associated with the Mail.ru service. Email credentials from Germany and China were also found among the stash.  However a significant number belonged to U.S. email providers. The remaining stolen credentials breakdown as follows, Yahoo Mail, 40 million credentials stolen; Microsoft Hotmail, 33 million; and Gmail 24 million. It’s not known if any of these accounts have actually been breached.

The most frightening detail of this breach is that many of the emails are linked to employees of some of the largest U.S. banking, manufacturing, and retail companies. Hold Security has informed the affected companies and organizations.

Hotmail-logoIf you have a Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail account you should immediately change your password. Experts also recommend that you set up two-step verification on your email accounts. Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail all offer two factor authentication that sends a second password to your smartphone when you sign in.

Officials at Yahoo and Google have yet to issue a statement about the breach. Microsoft said through a spokesperson that the stolen credentials are an unfortunate reality but that it had measures in place to detect account compromise.

 

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About The Author

Tom Huskerson Bio Born in Richmond Virginia Tom Huskerson is a military veteran who settled in California after his discharge. He attended Santa Barbara City College where he began his writing career as a campus reporter. He worked as an intern news reporter for the Santa Barbara News-Press writing feature stories before moving on to San Francisco. At San Francisco State University Tom studied broadcast communications and began to focus on the Internet. He completed his graduate thesis on Internet advertising. Tom was the first student to ever focus on the Internet as a graduate student at San Francisco State University. After graduation he went to work for Zona Research in California’s Silicone Valley. As a research associate Tom supported senior analyst writing on the latest developments in the Internet industry. During the dot com boom Tom worked for several web businesses as a market researcher and analyst. As a writer and researcher Tom has authored various technical works including a training program for Charles Schwab security. Other projects included professional presentations on workplace violence and hiring security contractors. Tom has returned to focus on writing both fiction and non-fiction works and blogging for a travel website. He has published two books of short stories and completed two novels. Tom is the owner of Scribe of Life Literature and EbonyCandle. Most recently Tom has launched the blog African American Cyber Report. The blog is the result of his desire to inform the African American community of the dangers and benefits of the cyber age. In his blog Tom reports on information security, new and analysis, scams and hoaxes, legal happenings and various topics that arise from the age of information. Tom believes that technology is a necessary tool for black people and they should know what is happening. Tom writes believing that techno speak is for the professional and that valuable information can be communicated using plain language. As a result he has embraced the motto, Less Tech, More Knowledge.

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