Russian hackers 'steal over a billion internet passwords'

Russian hackers have stolen over 1.2 billion internet usernames and passwords and more than 500 million email addresses, in what is believed to be the largest known collection of stolen internet details, according to reports.

Credit: PA Wire

Research from Hold Security said the details had been gathered from over 420,000 websites ranging from smaller sites to "household names", the New York Times reported.

The security firm did not disclose the targeted websites to prevent vulnerabilities being further exploited by hackers.

The criminals are reportedly using the information to send spam on social networks.