The threat intel team at Recorded Future, a US-based cyber-security firm, claims to have identified the hacker who assembled and then sold a massive collection of email addresses and passwords known as Collection #1.
The company’s experts believe a hacker going online by the pseudonym of “C0rpz” is the person who rigorously and meticulously collected billions of user records over the past three years. This includes records from companies that were hacked in the past and whose data was posted or sold online.
Recorded Future says that C0rpz isn’t only responsible for assembling and selling Collection #1, a data trove of 773 million unique email addresses and just under 22 million unique passwords that grabbed headlines at the start of the year, but many more other data collections.
Researchers say Collection #1 was part of a larger package containing seven other “collections” in total.
- “ANTIPUBLIC #1” (102.04 GB)
- “AP MYR & ZABUGOR #2” (19.49 GB)
- “Collection #1” (87.18 GB)
- “Collection #2” (528.50 GB)
- “Collection #3” (37.18 GB)
- “Collection #4” (178.58 GB)
- “Collection #5” (40.56 GB)
Of the seven, the AntiPublic collection had already leaked online and had been shared among other hackers since April 2017. The rest appear to be new items, that hadn’t been seen online until this month.
In total, these databases appear to contain more than 3.5 billion user records, in combinations such as email addresses and passwords, usernames and passwords, and cell phone numbers and passwords.
Recorded Future says C0rpz sold this data to other hackers, who are now disseminating it for free via online sharing portal MEGA and via torrent magnet links.
Some of the hackers who bought this data from C0rpz are Sanix, another hacker who infosec journalist Brian Krebs first identified as the source of Collection #1, and Clorox, the person who initially shared Collection #1 for free on Raid Forums at the start of the month, inadvertently exposing this huge data trove to security researchers and journalists.
“Neither of three actors has ever been on our radar,” Andrei Barysevich, Director of Advanced Collection at Recorded Future, told ZDNet in an email today. “However, we did find a previous online footprint on all actors, which does not suggest that these actors are sophisticated.”
Barysevich also told ZDNet that his team didn’t find “any proof” that the named three, including C0rpz, are hackers, responsible for actual breaches at any company.
“We believe they have merely aggregated the data over the time,” Barysevich told us.
But Recorded Future experts aren’t 100 percent sure in their attribution of these data collections to C0rpz –as no attribution that involves self-aggrandizing and braggadocio hackers can truly ever be 100 percent. Experts are also looking into another possible source of the leak, which they did not name yet.
“On January 10, 2019, an actor on a well-known Russian-speaking hacker forum posted both a magnet link and a direct download link to a database containing 100 billion user accounts hosted on a personal website,” Recorded Future said in a report published earlier today. “The following week, the actor made clear that the data dump referenced in Troy Hunt’s [Collection #1] article was included in their dump as well.”
To be fair, it doesn’t really matter who assembled, sold, or shared this data in the end. All this data was previously available for years. The difference was that in past, this data was shared in individual packages, per site of origin.
It’s only become a recent trend for data hoarders (hackers who collected data from hacked sites) to assemble these smaller leaks and breaches into gigantic packages.
This became a trend because more and more companies are getting hacked, and the value of individual leaks became smaller. Data sellers adapted and started merging leaks together to continue to make a profit.
There are likely hundreds of similar mega-packages being shared on hacking forums out of the public eye as we speak, which have not made the light of day yet.
Eventually, they will. When that happens, cyber-crime groups will collect these aggregated leaks, extract any new user records they don’t have, and use this information to spam our email inboxes, attempt brute-force attacks against our online accounts, or, even worse, use these details for extortion or financial fraud.
It is highly likely that most of our data has already leaked online by now. All, we, the users, can do is protect our accounts with strong passwords that are unique per site, enable multi-factor authentication wherever possible, and avoid entrusting our data to any company that asks for our details for no good reason.
Now, if we could only get journalists to stop blowing these “collections” out of proportion every time one of them surfaces online.
More data breach coverage:
Adventist Risk Management Data Protection Infrastructure
Companies always want to enhance their ability to quickly address pressing business needs. Toward that end, they look for new ways to make their IT infrastructures more efficient—and more cost effective. Today, those pressing needs often center around data protection and regulatory compliance, which was certainly the case for Adventist Risk Management. What they wanted was an end-to-end, best-in-class solution to meet their needs. After trying several others, they found the perfect combination with HYCU and Nutanix, which provided:
- Ease of deployment
- Outstanding ROI
- Overall TCO improvement
Nutanix Cloud Platform provides a software-defined hyperconverged infrastructure, while HYCU offers purpose-built backup and recovery for Nutanix. Compared to the previous traditional infrastructure and data protection solutions in use at Adventist Risk Management, Nutanix and HYCU simplified processes, speeding day-to-day operations up to 75%. Now, migration and update activities typically scheduled for weekends can be performed during working hours and help to increase IT staff and management quality of life. HYCU further increased savings by providing faster and more frequent points of recovery as well as better DR Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) by increasing the ability to do daily backups from one to four per day.
Furthermore, the recent adoption of Nutanix Objects, which provides secure and performant S3 storage capabilities, enhanced the infrastructure by:
- Improving overall performance for backups
- Adding security against potential ransomware attacks
- Replacing components difficult to manage and support
In the end, Nutanix and HYCU enabled their customer to save money, improve the existing environment, and, above all, meet regulatory compliance requirements without any struggle.
Secure Insight: GigaOm Partners with the CISO Series
Don’t look now, but GigaOm, the analyst firm that enables smart businesses to future-proof their decisions, is forging new partnerships to extend its reach and better inform busy IT decision makers. On Thursday, the company announced it was teaming with the CISO Series to share content and better support the community of chief information security officers, security practitioners, and security vendors.
“The CISO Series is one we have admired for a while because they have a very similar aim: They help security professionals become more knowledgeable and understand how their roles are changing,” said Ben Book, GigaOm founder and CEO. “We saw a clear common interest and are delighted to be working together.”
The CISO Series brand has built a formidable reputation through its podcasts, blogs, video chats, and live events for the security community. It has added the extremely popular CyberSecurity Headlines podcast to its stable this year, which joins the CISO/Security Vendor Relationship and Defense in Depth podcasts. Every Friday at 10am Pacific Time, the CISO Series hosts its highly engaging and fun weekly live CISO Series Video Chat, which viewers can register for here.
The channel partnership connects two of the strongest, fastest-growing brands in enterprise IT content production. The agreement enables the CISO Series to share exclusive GigaOm reports with its audience ahead of publication, while GigaOm is able to share insights from the CISO Series’ various publications through its social channels and newsletters. The CISO Series joins other media firms, such as The Register and SDXCentral, as official GigaOm Channel Partners.
“We are delighted to be working with GigaOm because we’re not only both addressing the same audience, but we’re also both trying to bring education and understanding to both the security vendor and practitioner communities,” said David Spark, managing editor and executive producer at the CISO Series. “GigaOm is providing some excellent reports that we’re leaning on for our discussions and reporting across all of our shows.”
Spark continued: “We are always tweaking our programming to bring the best and most up-to-date resources and we’re really impressed with both the volume and quality GigaOm is delivering. Not only are we impressed with their editorial work, but we also appreciate their business branding. It’s something we felt comfortable about aligning with the CISO Series brand as well.”
Check out the CISO Series schedule at http://crowdcast.io/cisoseries, or visit cisoseries.com for more information about the CISO Series and its weekly Video Chats.
Key Criteria for Evaluating Vulnerability Management Tools
Vulnerability management tools scan your IT estate to help identify and mitigate security risks and weaknesses. These tools can facilitate the development of a more comprehensive vulnerability management program. Leveraging people, processes, and technologies, successful initiatives effectively identify, classify, prioritize, and remediate security threats.
A security vulnerability is a weakness that can compromise the confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA) of information. Attackers are constantly looking to exploit defects in software code or insecure configurations. Vulnerabilities can exist anywhere in the software stack, from web applications and databases to infrastructure components such as load balancers, firewalls, machine and container images, operating systems, and libraries. This includes code used in the CI/CD pipeline as well as the infrastructure-as-code (IAC) that defines the compute, network, and storage infrastructure.
Recent cybersecurity events have exposed widespread vulnerabilities involving the exploitation of zero-day malware and unknown weaknesses. Threat actors continually discover new exploitation tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) to take advantage of weaknesses throughout integrated systems. Moreover, identifying breach paths is increasingly complicated due to the widespread adoption of ephemeral services.
Vulnerability management solutions should provide end-to-end visibility of the protect-surface by aggregating both platform and application risks in a single pane of glass, while leveraging prioritized remediation based on business risk and threat context for efficiency. Containerized workloads deployed via DevOps pipelines have unique security requirements that demand a fully integrated vulnerability assessment to be automated into cloud platform services running containerized workloads.
The path to a mature security posture starts with the ability to identify vulnerabilities in software code, third-party libraries, and at runtime. In addition, the cloud platform used to host your applications should be scanned for misconfigurations. This requires the use of policy configuration baselines, benchmarks, and compliance standards that apply to both the infrastructure and the code used to build it. As organizations implement security guardrails early in the software development lifecycle (SDLC), they can take advantage of cloud-native culture to ensure network and security tools are used throughout all phases of the SDLC.
This GigaOm report explores the key criteria and emerging technologies that IT decision makers should evaluate when choosing a vulnerability management solution. The key criteria report, together with the GigaOm radar report that evaluates relevant products, provides a framework to help organizations assess the solutions currently available on the market and how these tools fit with their requirements.
How to Read this Report
This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:
Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.
GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.
Vendor Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.
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