An anonymous independent researcher found millions of utility customers' passwords had previously been stored in plaintext.

The researcher noticed more than 80 websites designed by the Atlanta firm SEDC offered users the option to email, not reset, lost account passwords to forgetful users, according to a report by ARS Technica.

According to estimates from GIS data and the utility companies, 15 million or so clients were affected by this practice and potentially several times more may be at risk as the SEDC site claims more than 250 utility companies use the software.

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