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Information of Hundreds of European Politicians Found on Dark Web

The email addresses and other information of hundreds of British, French and EU politicians have been found on the dark web.

The email addresses and other information of hundreds of British, French and European Parliament politicians can be found on dark web marketplaces, according to privacy-focused solutions provider Proton.

As part of a study conducted by Proton in collaboration with Constella Intelligence, the dark web was searched for nearly 2,300 official government email addresses belonging to members of the British, French and European Parliaments. 

In total, 918 email addresses were leaked to cybercrime marketplaces, but the percentage of impacted politicians is different for each organization. 

For instance, British MPs were the most impacted, with 68% of the targeted email addresses appearing on the dark web. In the case of the EU Parliament members, 44% had their email addresses posted on hacker forums. Only 18% of French deputies and senators had their data exposed.

In the case of British politicians, which included senior government and opposition figures, their email addresses were found more than 2,100 times on the dark web. 

Proton pointed out that in many cases the email addresses are publicly available on government websites. The problem is that the presence of the email addresses on dark web marketplaces shows that these addresses were used to set up accounts on a wide range of third-party online services that were at some point hacked. 

These sites include Adobe, LinkedIn, Dropbox, Dailymotion, petition sites, news services, and in some cases even dating websites.

Proton warned that using official government email addresses for such services puts not only politicians at risk, but also the information they are entrusted to keep safe. 

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“Even more concerning is that these email addresses were matched with 697 passwords in plain text,” the company warned. “If a politician reused one of these exposed passwords to protect their official email account, it could also be at risk.”

In addition to email addresses and passwords, the exposed data included dates of birth, addresses, and social media accounts, which could be useful for convincing phishing attacks.

Related: Cyberattack Targets Albanian Parliament’s Data System, Halting Its Work

Related: In Other News: European Parliament Breach, DocGo Hack, VMware Advisories Moved

Related: US Sanctions Spyware Company and Executives Who Targeted American Journalists, Government Officials

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a managing 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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