BDO CYBER THREAT INTELLGENCE REPORT JANUARY 2019
13 February 2019
Original content provided by BDO Switzerland
On January 17th, 2019, security researcher Troy Hunt reported a massive data breach dubbed "Collection #1". In its raw form it has over 2.7 billion rows of data in 12,000 files, which add-up to over 87GB. In total, after duplicates and unusable bits were removed, it has 772,904,991 unique emails and over 21 million unique passwords.
The database initially appeared on the cloud storage service MEGA, and later was posted on an unnamed hacking forum. According to the user who posted it, it aggregated over 2,000 leaked databases that contain hashed passwords that were cracked. However, it should be noted that Hunt believes that much of the database compiled completely random records, purely to maximize the number of credentials available to hackers, as there are no obvious patterns.
This data can be exploited in a number of way, but perhaps the most obvious is credential-stuffing attacks, in which attackers attempt to access accounts by repeatedly inputting password combinations at a given site or service. This vector is especially affective against users who reuse usernames and/or passwords across multiple platforms. Hunt has since incorporated the records into his service "have i been pwned", that allows users to verify whether their email has been compromised.