(2014-08-07) — Russian identity thieves reportedly stole 1.2 billion passwords from 420,000 websites, jeopardizing the privacy and financial well-being of up to 17 individuals worldwide.
International law enforcement authorities called the crime “devastating,” because like most people, “these 17 victims have more passwords than they can count, and no system for keeping track of them.”
Once the perpetrators are in custody, an attorney for the victims said he’s hopeful that “authorities will let them question the Russians from time to time in order to secure login credentials — especially for those sites and apps that you access only once or twice a year, but that make you create an entire user profile to find out whether it’s going to rain today, or at what temperature pork should be cooked in a convection oven.”
Approximately 1.1 billion of the stolen passwords merely provide access to one-time-usage email accounts set up to sell something on Craigslist — accounts with names like 2003PlymouthNeedsWork@gmail.com.
Authorities say the vast majority of the passwords on the Russian hard drives consist of utterly-random character sequences like ‘1234567’ or ‘password.’
Fortunately for the victims, the attorney said, “The Russians did not manage to acquire all of their passwords, so they can still post pictures of food and cat videos to Facebook and Instagram, retaining at least a modicum of their human dignity.”