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16 million Germans rocked by massive security breach

SecurityNews
by Angela Moscaritolo, 22 Jan 2014News
16 million Germans rocked by massive security breach

Another day, another massive data breach.

Germany's Federal Office for Information Security, or BSI, this week said that the online accounts of 16 million Internet users have been compromised by hackers.

The theft of email addresses and passwords was discovered as part of an analysis by research institutions and law enforcement agencies into botnets, or networks of compromised computers that cybercriminals use to carry out attacks, the organisation said.

BSI warned that affected individuals may be at risk of identity theft as a result of the data heist. The organisation has set up a webpage where people can check if their information has been compromised.

Those affected by the breach should check their computer for malware, and change all their passwords for social-networking sites, online shops, email accounts, and other web-based services.

The incident is just the latest in a string of recent high-profile data breaches.

In South Korea, the personal information from more than 100 million credit cards and accounts, including those of President Park Geun-hye and UN chief Ban Ki-moon, was recently stolen and sold to marketing firms, according to Reuters. A contractor of the Korea Credit Bureau stole the information in 2012 by simply loading it onto a portable hard drive. The man later sold the information to at least two people, including a loan marketer and a broker.

Meanwhile, despite all the warnings about the need for secure passwords, some Internet users still use very obvious codes, according to SplashData's annual list of the most commonly used passwords on the web.

The good news is that "password" is no longer the most popular password, slipping to second position. However, it has been replaced by the equally dumb "12346."

Here's a closer look at the current state of password security

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