A historic assemblage of online credentials, which include user name/password combinations and email addresses, have been stolen by a “Russian crime ring“, according to a recent article published on The New York Times web site. The report indicates that name and passwords for “1.2 billion users” and over “500 million email addresses” were stolen according to the findings of security researchers. The discovered records also include “confidential material gathered from 420,000 websites“, according to the report.
Hold Security, an internet security firm based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, “has a history of uncovering significant hacks, including the theft last year of tens of millions of records from Adobe Systems“, according to the report. The firm could not release the identities of any of the victims of this crime due to active “nondisclosure agreements and a reluctance to name companies whose sites remained vulnerable“, according to the article.
Alex Holden, Founder and Chief Information Security Officer of Hold Security, was quoted in the article to say, “Hackers did not just target U.S. companies, they targeted any website they could get, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to very small websites. And most of these sites are still vulnerable.”
According to the article, Hold Security confirmed that Russian websites had also been hacked. It was noted in the article that Holden “saw no connection between the hackers and the Russian government” and “planned to alert law enforcement after making the research public.” Unfortunately, as the report states, law enforcement officials within the Russian government have not “historically pursued accused hackers.” The report clarified that the hacker group had “not sold many of the records online” but have been paid to use the stolen credentials “to send spam on social networks” including Twitter.
Read more about this historic cyber theft in the full article at The New York Times and learn more about the increase of cyber crime and how the amount of information which is stolen is growing larger.