A mountain of data stolen from Deezer in 2019 resurfaces

published on Tuesday, 03 January 2023 at 18:38.

French streaming platform Deezer has been grappling for several weeks with the online publication of a file containing data from 250 million user accounts, apparently stolen in 2019 by a service provider.

The database appeared in early November on personal data traffic forums.

“The data exposed includes basic information such as first and last name, date of birth, email address,” but does not include “sensitive” information such as passwords or payment details, Deezer said in a press release.

The data stolen from Deezer alone does not make it possible to directly attack an internet user. But they can facilitate more elaborate attacks such as phishing, for example the attacker can use personal information to gain the trust of their target.

Deezer declined to confirm the number of user accounts affected.

According to stolen data tracker Damien Bancal, author of the specialized blog Zataz.com, the data of 257 million users has been placed online, representing more than 260 GB (gigabytes) of information.

The US site restoreprivacy.com, which mentioned the case in November, said it had identified “more than 240 million” accounts in question.

Deezer warned Cnil, the French internet privacy watchdog, in November and has been working “in close cooperation” with it.

“We are in the process of contacting affected users by email to make them aware of the dangers of phishing and to encourage them to be vigilant,” Deezer explained.

– “Most important” since Facebook –

“We recommend that our users, as a precaution, change their passwords,” the company added.

The database of these stolen data “was already on sale for a long time in private spaces” of pirates, “we heard about it” indirectly, Mr. Bancal explained to AFP.

And “on December 23,” more than three years after the original theft according to Deezer, “the file was made available for free” on an easily accessible site well known to pirates and hackers, he added.

After a data theft, the hacker first tries to “squeeze it like a lemon” by trying to extract the maximum value from it himself, or by selling it to some of the hacker’s VIPs, he explains.

Then gradually the circle of people who have the file increases and the value of the data decreases.

Until someone decides to put them online for free, especially for self-promotional purposes, the expert says.

Deezer clarified that it no longer worked “as of 2020” with the provider targeted by the data theft.

“Deezer’s security systems remain effective and our databases are secure,” the company explained in an English blog post published in November as the data began to emerge.

According to restoreprivacy.com, the database specifically contains the data of 46.2 million users in France, 37.1 million in Brazil, 15.3 million in Germany.

Haveibeenpwned, a site that alerts internet users when their email address is being hacked, warned its subscribers if they were on a stolen database.

According to Troy Hunt, the site’s head, the Deezer leak is “the largest” the site has dealt with since the discovery of a file containing data on nearly 530 million Facebook accounts in the first half of 2021.

The case comes in a tense general context for Deezer, which is trying to find its place against the giants of the sector such as Spotify, Apple Music.

The share price fell to a level of around 3 euros, while it was listed on the Paris stock exchange at 8.5 euros in July 2022.

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