GMail, Hotmail and Yahoo Mail Hacked
According to reports released over the last couple of days, more than 10,000 Hotmail accounts were hacked, with the passwords and account details of some of them being posted on a web development forum before being taken down.
Microsoft has announced that it is investigating the report, and in the meanwhile, advised all Hotmail users to change their security details. A day later, it was reported in the news that users of Google’s Gmail, and Yahoo Mail, were also targeted in the large-scale attack, which was largely directed at users in Europe.
A Microsoft spokesperson said “We’re actively investigating the situation and will take appropriate steps as rapidly as possible,” amidst fears that sensitive information could have become available, due to Hotmail details being used for several other online Microsoft services as well.
The US representatives of both other companies, Google and Hotmail, did not respond to requests for information, but a Google spokesperson in Europe confirmed the targeting of Gmail users.
Speaking to the BBC, the spokesperson said, “We recently became aware of an industry-wide phishing scheme through which hackers gained user credentials for web-based mail accounts including Gmail accounts.”
According to the British network, it had seen a list of some 20,000 hijacked email accounts, that included accounts from Gmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL, Comcast and Earthlink.
The spokesperson added that as soon as they learned of the attack, they forced password resets on the affected accounts, and would continue to do so as they become aware of other accounts which might have been affected.
A Rise In Attacks
The attacks, which have come in the form of a phishing scam that fools users into providing log-in details on a fake page, are part of a substantial increase in phishing attacks this year, with more than double the number of attacks recorded in June 09 (50,000 attacks), compared to numbers recorded in January 09.