Danger level 7
Type: Other

Over 1.2 billion email addresses hacked by a Russian cyber gang

If you have an email box or an account on some website, your personal information may be obtained by cyber attackers at any time. Your personal details are not necessarily gathered directly from your computer. The data could be stolen from the service provider or online vendor that is entitled to safely store your personal information.

During the course of 8 months, Hold Security has identified a group of Russian cyber criminals possessing a large cache of stolen data. The cyber gang is dubbed CyberVor and is known to be in possession of over 4.5 billion records, the vast majority of which are stolen credentials. Approximately 1.2 billion of the credentials possessed are regarded as unique and believed to belong to a half a billion email account owners. In order to gather this enormous amount of personal information, the criminals attacked over 420,000 websites and FTP servers, including the FTP server of the New York Times.

The attack over FTP sites was noticed in February 2014, and it was found that the attackers affected companies of all sized. It was estimated that the hackers obtained credentials for over 7,000 FTP sites. The data acquired is known to have circulated in undergrounds forums.

After the breach, some malicious code was placed on FTP servers to direct people to phishing websites, including websites promoting work-at-home schemes.

The databases containing the stolen credentials were used to carry out attacks on e-mail services, social media, and other websites.

In order to obtain information from various websites, the CyberVor gang used botnet networks to identify what websites had SQL vulnerabilities. It was found out that over 400,000 websites were potentially vulnerable to this type of infection flaws.

As regards those unique emails hacked, Hold Security state that the email addresses include all major providers, including Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft.

In the near future, Hold Security will launch a service that will enable the user to check whether his/her credentials have been found in CyberVor’s databases. It is also advisable to change the passwords of online accounts to minimize the risk of experiencing more serious personal information-related issues.

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