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Last week reports emerged that 272 million email accounts had been put up for sale on the dark web by a Russian hacker.
It spread an understandable wave of panic across the world as people scoured the internet to find out if their account had been compromised.
However, digital security experts now believe that the hack may have been a fake as part of a publicity stunt launched by the researcher who claimed to have discovered it.
The supposed list of 272 million accounts from popular services like Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, and Mail.ru were allegedly posted online for sale having been hacked from service providers who, so far, appear to be denying the existence of any hack. A telltale sign, according to security experts, was that the list was put up for sale for less than $1; which is incredibly bizarre given the numbers involved.
Research showed that almost all of the account listings shown in the Mail.ru database were invalid, and it’s now widely believed that the whole thing was a publicity stunt to create media hype and draw people’s attention to a cyber security business.
The problem is though we can’t be too careful nowadays when it comes to the security of our online accounts because so much information can be derived from them, and they can lead to access to personal and financial information and accounts that put people at genuine risk of being scammed or stolen from.
The stunt appears to have been rather successful, but I expect most people will continue to worry whenever there is even whisper of a possible hack leaving our private and confidential information at risk on the dark web.
You really can’t be too careful these days!
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