Troy Hunt is a computer security expert and he was recently given one of the largest single data sets of emails ever discovered. It came with two sets of data, one that contained email addresses and another that had email addresses and passwords! A security researcher from Paris known only as Benkow gave the data to Troy and so far the spam list contains a whopping 711 million email addresses.
As Troy writes on his own website: ‘for a sense of scale, that’s almost one address for every single man, woman, and child in all of Europe.’
Apparently, this large treasure trove of data was garnered by a machine called the ‘Onliner Spambot.’
The IP address was linked to a place in the Netherlands but according to Troy, he would rather not publish this tidbit of information in fear of spreading the data further.
On his website, troyhunt.com, he wrote ‘[at] the time of writing, the server is still up and I don’t want to give away any information that could result in the data being spread further.’
He continued on by writing: ‘the IP address is actually based in the Netherlands and Benkow and I have been in touch with a trusted source there who’s communicating with law enforcement in an attempt to get it shut down ASAP.’
Troy went on to discuss these types of files. The one with just email addresses contains a wide assortment of files. These files contained email addresses that were used to deliver spam to.
As he describes: ‘in some cases, a single file may contain tens or even hundreds of millions of addresses.’
The other folder contains emails and passwords. Troy said that according to Benkow, these were used in order to ‘abuse the owners’ SMTP server in order to deliver spam.’
He explains that this wide range of data can help those with nefarious means send a wide range of spam emails from different email accounts all over the globe.
But unfortunately, Troy explains that this data set ‘doesn’t give you much insight into where your email address was obtained from or what you can actually do about it.’ But a good place to start would be to find out if your email is on that list and if so, make sure to change your passwords ASAP!