Canadian company pleads guilty to peddling vast database of personal information

OTTAWA — The RCMP says a Canadian-based company that peddled an illicit trove of 1.5 billion user names and associated passwords has pleaded guilty to criminal charges.

In a news release, the Mounties say Defiant Tech Inc. admitted in court Friday to trafficking in identity information and possession of property obtained by crime a year after charges were laid in the probe.

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The investigation began three years ago, when the RCMP learned the website LeakedSource was being hosted on servers in Quebec.

The website, now shut down, had a total of some three billion pieces of data for sale, earning the company about $247,000.

The Mounties say they had valuable help from the Dutch national police and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation on the probe.

At a January 2018 news conference announcing the charges, the RCMP said the force believed that several Canadians were affected — there was no precise number — and might still be at risk due to the information being available online through various dark-web sites.

The extensive database was assembled using personal information stolen by hackers in recent years from domains like networking site LinkedIn and extramarital-affair hub ashleymadison.com, the police force said.

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