22 Jan 2014

16 Million Credentials Compromised; German Authorities Advise Safety Test

The emails and passwords of millions of Germans have been compromised in the latest of a wave of major breaches in cyberspace, according to a statement by Germany's Federal Office for Information Security (BSI).

The breach that affected 16 million accounts was discovered during research on botnets organized by research institutions and law enforcement agencies, BSI said on its website. BSI warned that users may be at risk of identity theft, especially those who use the same password for multiple accounts.

BSI and Deutsche Telekom have set up a webpage where users can enter their email address to check if their personal data is safe. BSI will verify the information and send affected users an email with recommendations for protective measures.

Affected users are advised to scan their computers for malware and change the passwords of all their online accounts, including email and social networking sites.

Announcement of the breach came on the heels of the theft of credit card information from some 20 million South Koreans, an online security breach at discount retailer Target that affected 70 million people and other incidents.