How would you react to finding out that your Hotmail email account was compromised by a hacker and then the login password posted online?
Unfortunately, this incident did happen on October 1st. A hacker was able to somehow obtain over 10,000 Windows Live Hotmail accounts and then post them onto pastebin.com, a text snippet web application, as an anonymous user.
Windows Live Hotmail, formerly MSN Hotmail or also known simply as “Hotmail”, is a popular free web-based email service offered by Microsoft as part of the Windows Live group. Some computer users use Hotmail as a secondary email account while others may choose to use it as a primary email address which makes this incident a potential security threat to the victims.
Neowin, a technology news site focused on Windows, Linux and Mac, reported the findings of the posted Hotmail passwords verifying that the accounts are real and mostly based out of European countries. They also speculate that there could be additional lists outside of the 10,000 accounts which only ranged from A to B.
Microsoft has not yet confirmed the findings of Neowin but if they prove to be correct, then this incident will be the largest attack on a web-based email service. It still has not been found as to how a hacker was able to get the passwords for thousands of Hotmail accounts.
This is not the first time a hacker was able to obtain the login of an email account. It reminds us of an all-too-familiar incident during the U.S. Presidential Election when the email account belonging to Sarah Palin was compromised. Even then it was an isolated occurrence. No other web-based email attack has topped the massive scale of the Hotmail password leak.
Hotmail users are recommended that they immediately change their password and security question to reduce the likelihood of their hotmail being compromised by someone else.
Do you use a web-based email service such as Hotmail? Which type of email service do you think is the safest since the recent leak of Hotmail passwords?