Nearly 5 million Gmail accounts and their accompanying passwords were reportedly stolen and leaked online, according to The International Business Times.
The majority of the users were based in Russia, but some English and Spanish speaking Gmail users have had their log-in credentials stolen as well. The details are still unclear on what information was taken and where it was posted.
Gmail officials have said that 60 percent of the stolen accounts were still active. All of the stolen Gmail account info was compiled into a text file and posted on a social media platform, the Bitcoin Security Forum. The leak was identified within the forum by a person using the username tvskit. A Reddit user allegedly posted the link the Gmail credentials in a specific area of Reddit for hackers.
A Russian media outlet reported on the Gmail hack, claiming that the forum was based in Russia but can be accessed by outside users. The stolen information could allow hackers access to Gmail as well as other Google services, including YouTube.
Google has advised users who fear their Gmail information may have been hacked to avoid typing their username and password into any website that will purportedly check if the credentials have been compromised. These sites could be posing as authentic; secure websites affiliated with Gmail, but are actually scams to steal more Gmail account information. This is a popular method used among hackers to steal log-in credentials, and many sites have already popped up in response to the Gmail hack.
Gmail users are urged to pick strong passwords and enabled two-step verification to keep future information from being hacked.
Experts supposedly “understand what happened in the case” of the Gmail hack, according to Russian-based CNews, but no specific details on how the hack occurred have been released.
According to The Telegraph, Google has reported that there was “no evidence” of a security breach, but did not deny that the stolen Gmail information was legitimate. Google released the following statement:
“The security of our users is of paramount importance to us. We have no evidence that our systems have been compromised, but whenever we become aware that an account has been compromised, we take steps to help our users secure their accounts.”
This massive Gmail hack has come on the heels of another wide scale online leak of private information called “The Fappening,” which released many nude photos of female celebrities.
[Image courtesy of AP Photo/ Jens Meyer]