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UK figures' passwords 'traded by hackers'

Press Association logoPress Association 23/06/2017

Passwords belonging to British politicians, diplomats and senior police officers have reportedly been traded by Russian hackers.

Security credentials said to have belonged to tens of thousands of government officials, including 1000 British MPs and parliamentary staff, 7000 police employees and more than 1000 Foreign Office staff were in the troves sold or swapped on Russian-speaking hacking sites.

The majority of the passwords are said to have been compromised in a 2012 hacking raid on the business social network LinkedIn, in which millions of users' details were stolen.

The National Crime and Security Centre confirmed its cyber security advice has been highlighted to departments in light of the discovery by The Times newspaper.

After the LinkedIn attack, users were advised to change their passwords on the site and any other accounts that used the same credentials.

The warning was repeated in 2016 when it emerged the compromised passwords were being sold by criminal gangs.

A British government spokesman said it was a "historical incident".

"When it took place, LinkedIn gave advice that people should change their passwords. Anybody who is no longer using the password will not have had their account breached," he said.

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