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Attackers Used Leaked Passwords to Hack GitHub Accounts

GitHub informed users on Thursday that it has reset the passwords of an unspecified number of accounts after they had been compromised by attackers who leveraged credentials leaked from other online services.

GitHub informed users on Thursday that it has reset the passwords of an unspecified number of accounts after they had been compromised by attackers who leveraged credentials leaked from other online services.

Many people don’t change their passwords regularly and they use the same credentials across multiple websites, allowing malicious actors to hack into their accounts. This is apparently what happened in GitHub’s case as well.

The company said attackers attempted to access a large number of accounts. The unauthorized access attempts were detected on Tuesday evening and an investigation revealed that the hackers had managed to log in to a number of accounts.

“For affected accounts, usernames and passwords are involved. Additionally, for some accounts, other personal information including listings of accessible repositories and organizations may have been exposed,” GitHub said.

The passwords of the affected accounts have been reset and impacted users are being notified. GitHub pointed out that its systems have not been compromised.

“We encourage all users to practice good password hygiene and enable two-factor authentication to protect your account,” the company said. “These attacks often evolve, and we’re continuing to investigate and monitor for new attack vectors.”

LeakedSource, a service that allows users to find out if their data is available online, revealed that hackers had stolen hundreds of millions of records from several major websites. The breaches occurred in 2011-2013, but the public did not know about them – or at least not their full extent – and the information obtained by cybercriminals at the time is clearly still valuable even today.

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The list of breached companies includes LinkedIn (117 million credentials), Myspace (360 million credentials), Tumblr (65 million credentials), and VK (100 million credentials).

GitHub is not the only company forced to reset passwords due to the recently disclosed mega breaches. The leaks also affected the customers of Reddit, TeamViewer, Twitter, Facebook and Netflix.

Related Reading: 45 Million Potentially Impacted by VerticalScope Hack

Related Reading: Microsoft May Ban Your Favorite Password

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

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