OSLO, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- About 1.4 billion passwords, some of which belong to prominent Norwegians, were leaked in searchable database by an international group of online activists, newspaper Aftenposten reported Thursday.
Some of the passwords belong to Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, President and CEO of Telenor Group Sigve Brekke, Norwegian biggest bank DNB Group's chief executive Rune Bjerke and a number of other Norwegian political and business leaders.
Many of them were shocked that their personal passwords are now exposed online, the report said.
Aftenposten reached out to the activist group that leaked the info. Their spokesman said that the motivation to post the data online has been to "make people aware that their information may be hacked".
At the same time, the group asked for donations to the project in crypto currency, Aftenposten wrote.
"We are five people aged 17 to 37 years old. We found the data through several dumps with compromised e-mail addresses and passwords on an underground forum online," the anonymous spokesman wrote in an email.
"We are now considering hiding the passwords. That way, we can avoid the whole process of people asking to delete the data, " the spokesman added.
He emphasizes, however, that the passwords will still be available a lot of other places online through hacks' leakages.
In addition to the prime minister, passwords from four Norwegian ministers and three party leaders have been compromised by the hackers. At least seven of the hacked email addresses belonged to the domain of the Norwegian parliament.
State Secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister Rune Alstadsaeter said that Solberg's email account from the parliament was deactivated when she became prime minister in 2013.
Although much indicates that many of the passwords contained in the database could be up to 10 to 15 years old, Roar Thon, senior advisor of the Norwegian National Security Authority, warned that leakage can pose significant security hazards.
"I do not disregard that many of the passwords can still be used to log in to different services. The big problem also lies in the fact that many people seem to repeat the same password phrases in a number of different places," Thon said.