Researchers at US cyber security firm, Hold Security LLC, have discovered stolen credentials from 360 million accounts that are available for sale on cyber black markets.
Alex Holden, chief information security officer of Hold Security LLC, said in a statement that his firm obtained the data over the past three weeks, meaning an unprecedented amount of stolen credentials is available for sale underground.
‘The sheer volume is overwhelming,’ said Holden, whose firm last year also helped uncover a major data breach at Adobe Systems Inc in which tens of millions of records were stolen. He added that he believes the records were obtained in separate attacks, including one that yielded some 105 million records, which would make it the largest single credential breach known to date. “These mind boggling numbers are not meant to scare you and they are a product of multiple breaches which we are independently investigating. This is a call to action, and if you are concerned about integrity of your company’s user credentials we encourage you to use our Credentials Integrity Services.”
Around 1.25 billion email addresses are also available for sale to potential cyber criminals. Andy Heather, VP for EMEA at Voltage Security, said organisations need a new security approach in response to this breach. He told IT Security Guru: “Traditional security approaches continue to fail to protect the real assets – which is the sensitive data. Only a data-centric approach, which neutralises the data and makes it valueless to the hackers, can ensure that when these inevitable breaches occur the data remains safe and secure.
“The fact that this involved account information and not just credit card numbers highlights that the criminals will take the path of least resistance to compromise consumers’ credit card details and bank accounts. Companies must use strong encryption to protect all personally identifiable information, especially if it can be used to gain access to consumers’ hard-earned money.”
Lancope CTO, Tim ‘TK’ Keanini added: “While these numbers are incredibly large, this information does not age well. Companies should issue a mandatory password change immediate to take themselves out of the running. This also goes for all your personal passwords. Just do it! The more alarming issue is that security folks are not ready for this type of infiltration because they wait around for security violations but the attacker here will not trigger an alarm, they will just login as the person – it could even be senior management! Without telemetry in place to be made aware of behavioural changes, the attacker goes undetected and sets up the next phase of their attack.”