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Details of over 900 EU politicians leaked on the dark web

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Illustration: Supimol Kumying | Shutterstock

The personal details of 918 British MPs, French deputies, senators, and members of the European Parliament have been leaked on dark web marketplaces, where data is illegally bought and sold. These details include email addresses, passwords, birth dates, and more.

The leak was discovered in a joint investigation by Proton and Constella Intelligence. 2,280 official government email addresses from the British, French, and European parliaments were searched on the dark web, with around 40 per cent found to be exposed. British MPs fared with the works, with around 68 per cent of the checked email addresses appearing on the dark web. Around 44 per cent of EU MEPs were also found on the dark web. French deputies and senators seemingly have the best security, with only 18 per cent of the searched emails exposed.

Percentages of MPs exposed on the dark web. | Source: Proton

Official email addresses being found on the dark web isn’t a big deal, because they’re publicly available anyway. The more concerning detail here is the exposure of 697 passwords in plain text alongwith the email addresses. If the government officials with exposed passwords used them anywhere else, those accounts might also be at risk. Proton has informed all affected politicians before the publication of its report.

The report doesn’t include any identifiable data to avoid putting individuals at risk but does add that elected politicians regularly used their official emails to sign up for services like LinkedIn, Adobe, Dropbox, Dailymotion, petition websites, news services, and even dating websites in a small number of cases.

While the least number of leaked politician details come from France, the country also has an example of the worst-case scenario. Proton reports that in November 2023, journalists discovered that an attacker stole login credentials to an MP’s official email address and stole them on the dark web for a surprisingly low $150. France is also home to the single politician who suffered the most breaches of their email address and had the most plaintext passwords exposed — 137 and 133 respectively.

British MPs are seemingly fortunate to not have faced a major scandal already. MPs’ emails have been exposed a total of 2,110 times already, with the most targeted MP appearing in as many as 30 breaches. The average breached British MP shows up in every 4.7 breaches. As for MPs of the European Parliament, out of the 309 MEPs exposed, 92 were found in 10 or more leaks. MPs from Brussels had their addresses exposed 2,311 times, along with 161 plaintext passwords.

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Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: yadullahabidi@pm.me.

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