THE GERMAN Federal Office for Information Security has warned that a hacking attack on computer networks might have stolen 16 million users' names and email addresses.
According to a note on the organisation's website, the plundered details were discovered in an analysis of botnets.
Included in its findings are usernames and email addresses for online stores and services. These details are now in the hands of the office and it said that it will reach out to affected parties and counsel them on what it means and what they should be doing about it.
It asked that concerned citizens enter their email addresses into its website so that they can be checked against its database. Here it is probably wise to only do things like this directly on website and not to follow third-party links.
If your username is recognised you have won a prize, and that prize heightened concern about your immediate digital future and finances.
Notification has two stages and after putting in an email address users will be given a four digit PIN number that should be matched in an email from the security agency. Users are advised to only follow through when matching numbers are presented.
16 million is no small number but in Korea the talk is of a hacking incident that scored as many as 100 million credit card information packages. Reports suggest that that attack put even UN chief Ban Ki-moon's credit card details into the hands of criminals.
Meanwhile, in the US, a successful hacking attack on the Target retail chain recently netted some 110 million victims. µ
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