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Hundreds of Spotify credentials appear online – users report accounts hacked, emails changed

TechCrunch TechCrunch 25/04/2016 Sarah Perez

A list containing hundreds of Spotify account credentials – including emails, usernames, passwords, account type and other details – has popped up on the website Pastebin, in what appears to be a possible security breach. After reaching out to a random sampling of the victims via email, we’ve confirmed that these users’ Spotify accounts were compromised only days ago. However, Spotify claims that it “has not been hacked” and its “user records are secure.”

It’s unclear, then, where these particular account details were acquired, given that they are specific to Spotify, rather than a set of generic credentials that just happen to work on Spotify.

In addition to the email and login information, the Pastebin post also details the type of account (e.g. Family, Premium), when the subscription auto-renews, and the country where the account was created. The list of accounts is not limited to the U.S., but includes a number of users from all over the world.

Spotify has dealt with security incidents in the past, so one can’t immediately assume that a list of emails like this is related to a new data breach. It could have been that a list of previously compromised accounts is still circulating. And only one of the accounts we tried actually permitted a login, which also left room for doubt about the recency of this particular incident.

But the victims we reached out to told us otherwise.

So far, a half a dozen have responded, confirming that they did experience a Spotify account breach last week. They became aware of the breach in a number of ways – for example, one said he found songs added to his saved songs list that he hadn’t added.

Another also found his account had been used by an unknown third-party.

“I suspected my account had been hacked last week as I saw ‘recently played’ songs that I’d never listened to, so I changed my password and logged out of all devices,” the victim, who preferred to remain anonymous, told us.

Several others said they were kicked out of Spotify – one even in the middle of streaming music.

When trying to log back in, these users found that their account email had been changed to a new email address not belonging to them. To resolve the matter, they’ve had to work with Spotify customer service to get their account access restored.

In none of the reported cases so far did Spotify reach out to the victims immediately following the breach, nor were their passwords proactively reset for them on their behalf by Spotify.

This seems to contradict the statement a Spotify spokesperson provided us today, when asked about this possible breach:

“We monitor Pastebin and other sites regularly. When we find Spotify credentials, we first verify that they are authentic, and if they are, we immediately notify affected users to change their passwords.”

It could be that Spotify is still in the process of verifying the account credentials, which could take time.

According to the users we spoke to so far, this issue occurred last week. The Pastebin is dated April 23rd, however. (TechCrunch is declining to link to the Pastebin page to protect the victims.)

Some of the victims are only now dealing with the fallout. One person said they received the email notification that their password had been reset on Sunday. Two others are still in the process of trying to prove to Spotify they are the legitimate account owner.

“..The person was able to change my email address without a second verification, and now I’m jumping through hoops to close my account,” one person told us.

“I had to reach out to Spotify first, and it’s still ongoing,” another said. “They’ve not been helpful, and I’ve only succeeded in getting my account locked so far.”

Because of Spotify’s delay in reseting users’ passwords, many of the victims told us they’ve had problems that extend beyond the streaming service.

Unfortunately, because people often re-use their passwords on other sites, several reported their other accounts have been hacked into as well, including their Facebook, Uber, and even their bank account.

More to come, as information becomes available.

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