The Local reports that German authorities recently confirmed that they're investigating the theft of around 18 million e-mail account passwords, affecting all major German Internet service providers (h/t DataBreaches.net).

A spokesman for the state prosecutor's office in the northwestern city of Verden, Lower Saxony, told The Local that they're currently trying to determine how the information was accessed.

Still, Verden public prosecutor Lutz Gaebel told Deutsche Welle that the stolen information has already been used for criminal purposes, such as making online purchases, in cases where the users had leveraged the same password for more than one online account.


According to Der Spiegel, at least 3 million of the stolen accounts belonged to German citizens.

This is the second major breach of e-mail account information in Germany this year -- in January, Germany's Federal Office for Information Security announced that 16 million stolen e-mail addresses and passwords had been found during an analysis of botnets.

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