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5 Million Gmail Accounts Leaked. Kinda.

Your Details Almost Definitely Aren't Not Unsafe, Probably

Great news if you’re a fan of having your account details shared: it’s happened again. Sort of.

According to reports early yesterday morning, millions of Gmail usernames and passwords had been leaked by mysterious, shady folks on Russian hacking forums. And while the most surprising thing to me is that hacking forums are actually a real thing (though their users probably experience fewer car chases and romantic escapades than Hollywood would lead us to believe), it’s pretty worrying just how lackadaisical companies seem to be with our personal details.

A poster on Reddit named mstrokin broke the news, claiming in the story’s description that Google itself had been hacked, and 5 million users’ details were compromised. The story linked to a Russian forum post which, while my Russian is admittedly rusty, seemed for all the world to confirm the tale. He went on to advise Reddit’s users to change their passwords in case they had been affected.

Cue mass panic, and a race between online news outlets to be the first to break news of the latest, greatest user-account leak. After all, the story seemed like it could have been true. Google are by no means too big to fall victim to hackers, as Sony can attest. So are their servers next on the chopping block? The answer, fortunately, seems to be no. Google have commented on the issue, labelling it...no biggie. While users’ details were shared online, they admitted, the names and passwords came from “other sources” as opposed to a leak within Gmail’s servers themselves.

While we wouldn't advise against changing your password if you're worried, you should be safe. Assuming you're not the sort of person who regularly shares your bank details with Nigerian Princes offering half their money, that is.

As for the original Reddit post, it's become a ghost town, with site moderators getting rid of every last comment. On top of being an attempt to quell a spread of misinformation, the comment-culling was done to cut down on phishing scams going on within conversation threads themselves. Immoral Redditors were linking websites asking users to input their Gmail details to see if they matched those leaked online. Of course, this offering of peace of mind was a scam in itself.

It’s unlikely anyone who fell for it appreciated the irony.

Emile is a postgrad from the University of Saint Mark and Saint John. He’s hoping to break into journalism or publishing, and won’t stop blogging until he’s managed it! Follow him @EmileAtSMF.

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5 Million Gmail Accounts Leaked. Kinda. Reviewed by Anonymous on Monday, September 15, 2014 Rating: 5
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