By JOHN BRADLEY/ReutersA hacker has stolen passwords and personal details from a large number of people’s computers and phones, including many of the owners of the popular HP laptop computers.
The hackers used a tool called the FileVault tool to break into computers that were infected with a virus that could spread by hacking into a hard drive, said security company Malwarebytes Inc.
A report on the hack by the Associated Press shows that more than 1.2 million accounts and passwords have been compromised, including passwords for thousands of people.
The company said it has no way to stop the attackers from exploiting vulnerabilities in the software that runs on computers and other devices.
It said it will provide a patch to affected users in the next few days.
The AP reported on Wednesday that the hackers accessed a hard-drive in a PC by clicking on a link in an email from the victim.
The email then showed the victim’s username and password.
The attack is similar to one that was used last year by a group called the Shadows team, which hacked into more than 200 million emails from a company called LinkedIn, which is based in San Francisco.
The FBI said it is investigating the hack as an act of cyber espionage.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the FBI is also investigating.
It said it believes the attackers may have been inspired by the Shadows group.
The Associated Press could not immediately verify the AP report, but it said it obtained the information through an AP-submitted request.
Malwarebytes said it did not know who the hackers were or who provided the credentials.
The company said its researchers found the compromised accounts were linked to the account of a member of the FBI’s cyber crimes task force.
“We’ve been in touch with the FBI and will provide an update when more information becomes available,” said Robyn Williams, a spokeswoman for MalwareBytes.