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Monday, 09 October 2017 08:02

Disqus discovers hack of 17.5m user details after five years Featured

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The biggest Web comment hosting service Disqus was breached in 2012 but the company only knew of it last week, according to an announcement made on Friday.

The service is used in 191 countries, according to its website. It was alerted to the breach by Troy Hunt, an independent researcher who runs the website have i been pwned.

The usernames, sign-up dates and last login details for 17.5 million users were exposed, including hashed passwords for about one-third of the users were exposed.

Disqus does not provide any details about its total users; it claims that the sites that use its system get 50 million comments each month, 17 billion page views with two billion unique browsers.

Disqus's Jason Yan wrote in a blog post announcing the breach: "Right now there isn’t any evidence of unauthorised logins occurring in relation to this. No plain text passwords were exposed, but it is possible for this data to be decrypted (even if unlikely).

"As a security precaution, we have reset the passwords for all affected users. We recommend that all users change passwords on other services if they are shared."

He said the email addresses were in plain text, and hence affected users could receive spam or unwanted emails.

"At this time, we do not believe that this data is widely distributed or readily available. We can also confirm that the most recent data that was exposed is from July 2012," Yan added.

Users who were affected will be notified by email.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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