According to a report by Neowin.net , more than 10,000 user ids and passwords for Windows Live Hotmail accounts were leaked online late last week, which claimed that they were posted by an anonymous user on pastebin.com last Thursday.
Neowin reported that it had seen part of the list. “Neowin has seen part of the list posted and can confirm the accounts are genuine and most appear to be based in Europe,” said the site. “The list details over 10,000 accounts starting from A through to B, suggesting there could be additional lists.”
Hotmail usernames and passwords are often used for more than logging into Microsoft ‘s online e-mail service, however. Many people log onto a wide range of Microsoft’s online properties — including the trial version of the company’s Web-based Office applications , the Connect beta test site and the Skydrive online storage service — with their Hotmail passwords.
Microsoft representatives in the U.S. were not immediately able to confirm Neowin’s account, or answer questions, including how the usernames and passwords were acquired. The BBC , however, reported early Monday that Microsoft U.K. is aware of the report that account information had been available on the Web, and said it’s “actively investigating the situation and will take appropriate steps as rapidly as possible.”
If Neowin’s account is accurate, the Hotmail hack or phishing attack would be one of the largest suffered by a Web-based e-mail service.