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Data Breach At Question-and-Answer Site Quora Affects 100 Million (#GotBitcoin?)

Names, emails, messages compromised in latest corporate-hacking episode.

The question-and-answer website Quora Inc. said Monday that hackers had broken into its network and gained access to data belonging to 100 million users.

Quora detected the hack on Friday and is still investigating the incident. The company said that the hackers gained access to users’ names, email addresses and direct messages.

News of the incident comes three days after Marriott International Inc. reported that hackers had been lurking in its Starwood networks for years, accessing data belonging to up to 500 million travelers. That breach was one of the most severe on record, both by number of people and the type of data that may have been obtained, including passport and credit-card data as well as information on hotel stays.

The Quora episode isn’t as serious, but underlined just how frequent large-scale breaches are becoming.

The hackers also got access to cryptographically protected passwords, Quora said. Security experts say that while these passwords can be unreadable, there are tools that can help hackers crack simple or easy-to-guess passwords, even with these protections.

Quora is forcing affected users to reset their passwords, and it advises them to change these passwords if they’re used on any other websites.

Quora, founded in 2009 by Adam D’Angelo, a former Facebook employee, lets users ask and answer virtually any question. It has gained traction in Silicon Valley, where users discuss the value of bitcoin and swap career advice, but the site has struggled to gain mass appeal. A spokeswoman declined to say how many total users it has.

“It is our responsibility to make sure things like this don’t happen, and we failed to meet that responsibility,” Quora said in a blog post and email messages sent to affected users Monday.

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