Dark web seller claims to have stolen 617 million accounts from 16 websites; offers databases for less than $20,000 in bitcoin

Approximately 617 million online accounts from 16 websites have been put up for sale on the dark web's Dream Market, The Register reports. A spokesperson for one of the affected websites, MyHeritage, has confirmed the legitimacy of sample account details offered by the seller. The multi-gigabyte databases were available for purchase for $20,000 in bitcoin, and include the victims' names, e-mail addresses, and hashed passwords.

The seller has revealed two simple motivators behind the endeavour—earning money and making "life easier" for hackers. They also claim to have several additional databases ready to release. "I'm just a tool used by the system," the seller told The Register. "We all know measures are taken to prevent cyber attacks, but with these upcoming dumps, I'll make hacking easier than ever."

Most of the affected websites have been forced to reset passwords for all of their users.