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Business trends

Tokyo company uncovers 2.7bn stolen passwords worldwide

Emails at small businesses hacked and sold on darknet, Soliton finds

The personal data was stolen from more than 3,000 websites. (Photo by Wataru Ito)

TOKYO -- A Tokyo information security company that uncovered billions of leaked personal details online earlier this year has confirmed even more, highlighting the ever-growing challenge of safeguarding data.

Soliton Systems said it found 2.7 billion matching pairs of email addresses and passwords originating worldwide. Of the total, 20 million were related to Japan. The company said smaller businesses with inadequate security are frequent targets for information theft, putting customer accounts at risk.

The number of instances exceeds the 2.2 billion Soliton found in 2018.

The company suspects the latest set of files had been changing hands over the so-called darknet -- a corner of the internet cybercriminals use to exchange information anonymously. Soliton said it spotted the files in January through an overseas file-sharing service, but that they have since been deleted.

The data was stolen from more than 3,000 websites. Addresses ending with ".jp" suffix -- domains located in Japan -- accounted for about 20 million, the company said.

The information came from the websites of 42 types of Japanese businesses. One was Porsche Japan, which announced last February that its systems had come under a cyberattack.

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