Germany's biggest data theft, 18 million emails and passwords stolen


18 Million email addresses and passwords have been stolen in what is being called the biggest data theft in Germany's history.

The compromised accounts are reportedly being misused for criminal purposes such as spreading spam emails.

The authorities have determined that at least three million of compromised accounts belong to German citizens(accounts ending with '.de').  The rest had international domain extensions such as '.com'.

It is still unknown exactly how many German and people from other countries have been affected by this massive data theft. 

A spokesperson for the states prosecutor's office in Verden, Lower Saxony, Germany, told The Local that they are currently in the process of determining how hackers accessed 18 million accounts.

It is second major data theft in Germany this year.  In January, German authorities announced that hackers accessed 16 million email addresses and passwords.