German e-mail logins stolen
22 January 2014, 12:29
Berlin - The login details of 16 million email users in Germany have been stolen, authorities confirmed Tuesday. The security breach was confirmed by the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), which has set up a website allowing internet users to ascertain whether their data has been accessed.
The German government called on citizens to check the website, with Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesperson Steffen Seibert tweeting a link to the site, which later crashed as a result of heavy traffic. The agency said that the criminals had managed to infect millions of computers with a programme that enrolled them onto a network - sometimes referred to as a botnet - from where the data was able to be stolen.
"Botnets are associated with a lot of criminal energy, and certainly with bad intentions," BSI said on its website, adding that users affected by the security breach should install new firewalls and change their email passwords.
The security agency did not give further details about the security breach because police investigations were under way.