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Apr 26, 2017 09:51 AM EDT

Colleges and universities in the US are now facing a scary threat from cyber criminals who attack colleges and universities by sharing email credentials from millions of stolen or fake accounts with a .edu in the address. And now, millions of staff and faculty email addresses and passwords have been compromised and are being circulated in the dark web.

The dark web is where it is all happening. It is a highly decentralized space where there is illegal or unregulated buying and selling of goods including movies, music, weapons, drugs and email information, USA Today College reported.

The Digital Citizens Alliance is the one that's reporting the evidence showing threats of many kinds and their reports include scam artists, hacktivists, and even terrorists who attempt to sell, trade or give away addresses and passwords, The Cyber Edge reported.

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These cyber criminals aimed to attack university email account credentials because they can use these accounts to avail or take advantage of college discounts when buying certain software or memberships. These stolen accounts are also being used to obtain access to a school's research, financial and other sensitive and private information.

The group's Deputy Executive Director, Adam Benson said that despite the efforts of colleges and universities to deploy resources and make their institutions safe, cyber criminals have their way of attacking highly desirable digital targets. Benson also said that they are sharing this information in order to raise awareness on the things that these criminals can do especially with a .edu account.

In order for students, faculty and staff to increase protection among themselves, the researchers suggest that they have to be very keen and careful with their passwords. They have to make sure they use a unique and complex password in order to help reduce the risk.

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