More than 122,000 University of Michigan email “.edu” addresses are available for sale on the internet, according to a report from Digital Citizens Alliance, a nonprofit organization focused on internet safety, as reported by the Detroit Free Press.
These addresses are harvested by hackers and put up for sale on the Dark Web, also referred to as the darknet, which is an internet network that can only be accessed with certain software or connections where illegal goods can be peddled, the Free Press reported.
Brian Dunn, managing partner of ID Agent, the company that gathered the data for the report, said the hacked addresses could potentially be used to steal peoples’ identities or trick others into giving up information, the Free Press reported.
“What is more trusted than an e-mail coming from a ‘.edu’ address?” Dunn said. “They can be used to launch malware or Trojan horse attacks, because people might be more willing to click on an e-mail coming from an ‘.edu’ e-mail address, thinking it’s real.”
These Trojan horse attacks function by tricking users into launching a program, then unleashing a virus onto a computer using the intent to steal further information.
In the report, the University topped the list of schools by number of email accounts available for sale on the darknet, while Michigan State University was fourth on the list with about 116,000 “.edu” addresses available.