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University Credentials for Sale on 'Dark Web'

March 31, 2017

Millions of university email accounts are listed for sale on the "dark web," a study by the Digital Citizens Alliance found. Researchers with the organization, which focuses on online safety, found nearly 14 million email addresses and passwords associated with the 300 largest colleges and universities in the U.S. are available on dark web marketplaces -- websites that can't be accessed using common web browsers such as Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Some of the sellers are making the information available for free, while others claim to have ties with terrorist organizations, the study found.

The University of Michigan holds the dubious distinction of having the most email addresses and login credentials available on the dark web -- more than 122,000, the researchers found -- followed by Pennsylvania State University, the University of Minnesota, Michigan State University and Ohio State University. Adjusted for enrollment, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology takes the No. 1 spot. University email addresses have previously been sold more openly, such as on the Chinese shopping site Taobao.

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Carl Straumsheim

Carl Straumsheim, Technology Correspondent, joined Inside Higher Ed in 2013. He got his start in journalism as a video game blogger for Norway's third largest paper, Dagbladet, at age 15, and has since dabbled in media criticism, investigative reporting and political coverage. Straumsheim (pronounced STROMS-hyme) boasts that he once received a perfect score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language, which enabled him to pursue a bachelor's degree in English from LaGrange College and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland at College Park.

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