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Quora: Attackers stole data from 100 million users

The question-and-answer portal Quora has made a hacker attack public. The unknown perpetrators broke into servers of the US company and stole data from around 100 million users, which corresponds to about half of the registered Quora members.

The break-in was discovered last Friday. The investigation of the incident is still ongoing. Nevertheless, it is clear that the cyber criminals had access to account information such as names, email addresses and encrypted passwords, Quora said. In addition, data that users of connected services imported was compromised.

However, non-public content and actions such as questions, ratings and direct messages were also accessed. The perpetrators also accessed a variety of public content, including questions, answers and comments.

"The vast majority of the content viewed was already public on Quora, but the compromise of account and other private information is serious," said Adam D’Angelo, CEO of Quora. "Anonymous questions and answers are not affected because we do not store the identity of people who publish anonymous content."

Quora believes that the stolen data is very unlikely to be used for identity theft, as it does not store any payment details or social security numbers. As a security measure, the sessions of the affected users were also ended and their passwords reset. All users who are likely to be affected are currently being informed by email.

In addition, according to the company, unspecified measures have been taken to prevent unauthorized access to its servers in the future. The cause of the incident is not yet clear and is currently being investigated together with a forensics company. The law enforcement authorities have also been informed.

Less than a week ago, Dell reported a similar break into its servers. However, the computer manufacturer did not provide any information on the number of people affected, because probably no data had been stolen.

With 100 million accounts compromised, the incident is one of the larger attacks. However, it is surpassed by the break into the booking system of the Starwood hotel chain, which is part of Marriott. Up to 500 million pieces of data were stolen, some including credit card details.