British Gas customer account details exposed online

<p>The company has contacted more than 2,000 customers to warn that their email addresses and passwords were posted online.</p>

More than 2,000 British Gas customers have been warned that their email addresses and account passwords were posted online. The affected accounts have also been disabled to prevent misuse.

British Gas, which has 14.7 million customer accounts, contacted the affected customers to warn them of the security glitch, but says that it doesn't think its own systems were breached.

The details were posted Pastebin, a document-sharing website.

In an email, British Gas said that bank and payment card details were not revealed. However, the login information could have been used to get into accounts and view information like names, addresses and past energy bills.

"I can assure you there has been no breach of our secure data storage systems, so none of your payment data, such as bank account or credit card details, have been at risk," the email read.

Information not from British Gas

The message also assured account holders that payment details were encrypted and stored securely. 

"From our investigations, we are confident that the information which appeared online did not come from British Gas," the email also said.

According to the BBC, British Gas wrote to the customers before checking all of the published passwords. This means it's possible that fewer accounts were actually at risk than originally thought. 

The energy supplier says there are a number of ways the details could have been obtained without a security breach for the company. For example, perpetrators may have obtained the passwords from another data breach and found that some people had used the same information for the British Gas website.

Customers could have also been the victims of a phishing campaign, in which they were tricked into revealing their account details.

Details leaked

The news about British Gas customers' account details being leaked is the latest in a string of online security breaches. On Tuesday night, the Marks and Spencer website was temporarily disabled after customers reported other people's details in their accounts. And last week, TalkTalk's website was hacked, putting thousands of users' information at risk.

British Gas is owned by Centrica – on Thursday (October 28th), shares in Centrica closed at 228.20 pence.

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