Data breach Of 427k Myspace Passwords Is Published Online

Teri Webster - Author

Dec. 13 2016, Updated 3:39 a.m. ET

Myspace, the once-popular social media website, is back in the news thanks to a hacker who stole 427 million passwords that are linked linked to about 360 million users.

The hack has been public for a while, but now anyone can download the passwords and peruse them – for God-only-knows what purpose.

“In May 2016, a person started selling the database of passwords on the dark web. Now, the entire database is available online for free,” Mashable reported.

Just when you thought all of the cheesy profile backgrounds, the drama, and the sparkly gif comments were gone forever, here they come again.

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Thomas White, an independent security researcher known as TheCthulhu on Twitter, posted the Myspace cache of passwords on his website Wednesday. On his Twitter page, White refers to himself as a “technology and privacy activist.”

“The following contains the alleged data breach from Myspace dating back a few years. As always, I do not provide any guarantees with the file and I leave it down to you to use responsibly and for a productive purpose,” White stated on his website.

The download was popular enough to crash the server where White stored the passwords, according to a Tweet he wrote July 1.

At the surface, it doesn’t seem likely that Myspace passwords would have any value. The website has long been a virtual ghost town. But the password cache is not entirely harmless. Identity thieves or anyone looking to dredge up some dirt on a person’s life, could potentially use the information to cause a lot of harm.

The main danger in the hack comes with someone trying the passwords out on other sites – like someone’s banking institution, for example. And while most people know not to use the same password over and over, there are still people who do.

At least one critic on Twitter said the password dump serves no other purpose but to inconvenience and harass everyday people.

So, should everyone race to Myspace to check their profile?

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Even if people can remember how to sign into their old Myspace accounts, much of the original content is probably gone. Myspace switched to a new format in 2013. At one point, there was a limited timeframe to sign in and preserve the old content such as pictures, videos and music lists.

Myspace came on the scene in 2003 and shortly after became the hottest social media site. It became a home for narcissists and philanderers, as well as pranksters who refused to take any of it seriously. Some people masqueraded as inanimate objects such as a tennis ball, a dancing pickle or a roll of toilet paper. Pet enthusiasts also found a home on Myspace, as there were no restrictions on dog or cat accounts – something that is not allowed on a Facebook profile.

In its heyday, Myspace had about 75.9 million monthly, unique users, according to Bloomberg News.

In the couple of years that followed, Myspace started losing more than one-million users a month, according to Bloomberg. Shortly afterward, its advertising also started to dwindle. Its advertising revenue went from $470 million in 2009 to an estimated $184 million in 2011.

Myspace owner News Corp began looking for a buyer for Myspace and found it difficult to generate interest, Bloomberg News reported.

In 2013, Myspace relaunched as a streaming music site, complete with an endorsement (and investment) from Justin Timberlake.

“But before it can regain its place at the table, Myspace will have to contend with powerful competitors in social media and streaming music – as well as the site’s own baggage as an Internet failure,” Rolling Stonereported at the time.

Unfortunately, the attempted revival never really took off to levels the website saw in its early days, based on data from Currently, Myspace ranks as the 1,448th most popular website in the U.S.

If you must, the following Tweet reveals where the passwords are located.

[Image by Chris Jackson/Getty Images]


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