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June 11th, 2008

Hackers Exposed Private Details Of 2000 Belgacom ISP Users

Largest Belgian ISP announced today that 2,000 of its ADSL accounts were compromised earlier this year by hackers. Belgacom discovered details of its subscribers posted on a web page by hackers who are against download limits on Belgacom broadband internet connections.

In Belgium, about 90% of residential ISP customers are connected either via Belgacom or Telenet. Although the connections are fast, both ISPs last year had a maximum download limit of 12 GB/month. Whoever passes this limit gets the speeds dropped to 3 KB/s for the rest of the month, which is not enough for nowadays average online usage.

In December frustrated Belgian internet users signed a petition demanding more reasonable download limits and on 30 December tried to download as much as possible to show Internet traffic wasn’t significantly higher than on other days. Apparently a group of disgruntled users decided that wasn’t enough, and exposed the details 2,000 Belgacom accounts to the web.

Belgacom did not inform the public about this security breach to avoid panic. Belgacom spokesperson said that postal letters were sent to small groups of users since April and asked them to change passwords as a matter of precaution. The site exposing clients details was closed down immediately and there was no abuse reports since then. According to Belgacom it is a minor issue, since they got 1 million ADSL users and stolen details of only 2,000 of them is not a threat.

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