Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

9/21/2016
05:30 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Majority Of Major Corporations Have User Credentials Stolen And Exposed

Companies in the entertainment and technology sectors are far more exposed than others, Digital Shadows analysis shows.

A staggering 97 percent of the 1,000 largest companies in the Forbes Global 2000 list are at risk of attacks involving the use of stolen credentials belonging to their employees.

Security vendor Digital Shadows recently analyzed stolen credentials dumped online on paste sites, underground forums, and criminal sites from a total of 30,000 disclosed breaches spanning the period between April 2014 and June 2016.

The company cross-checked the stolen credentials against the domains of the 1,000 enterprises and any of their identifiable subsidiaries. In total, Digital Shadows checked 19,362 domains against the stolen credentials and found approximately five million unique email and password combinations from across the 1,000 organizations and their subsidiaries.

The leaked credentials give threat actors a way to target organizations and take over accounts, launch spear-phishing attacks, and to employ credential-stuffing tactics to break into an enterprise network, Digital Shadows said. Other risks involve post-breach extortion attempts and the possibility for threat actors to create botnets with the leaked data.

Companies in the entertainment and technology sectors are far more exposed to credential-based attacks than organizations in almost any other sector. The average number of leaked credentials per company in the entertainment sector was a massive 37,399, while the average for technology companies was 25,806. Healthcare and pharmaceutical companies occupied the number three spot with an average of 3,453 stolen employee email and password combinations available publicly.

Real estate companies, with an average of 395 leaked credentials, fared best among the 12 sectors in the Digital Shadows report.

Digital Shadows found that organizations based in Africa, the US, and United Kingdom are substantially more exposed to leaked credentials than counterparts in, Asia, South America, the Middle East, and to a certain extent, Europe.

LinkedIn Connection

A large proportion of the leaked credentials that Digital Shadows encountered came from breaches at social media companies. For instance, data compromises at LinkedIn, Tumblr, and MySpace alone accounted for almost 60% of the leaked credentials available online for attackers to use. Also contributing to the availability of leaked credentials were gaming and data websites.

Enterprises with employees who reused corporate emails and passwords for such sites can be at risk, Digital Shadows said in its report.

"Organizations really need to practice rules- and roles-based credential management and sanity," to mitigate risks from stolen credentials, says Dr. Shane Shook, an expert on cybercrime, cyber law, and cybercriminal behavior.

When conducting red and blue team engagements with clients, Shook says the most common mistake he has encountered is the failure of companies to restrict or remove entitlements for use of corporate resources.

"Attackers search those out as low-hanging fruit to facilitate their endeavors," he says. Emerging user behavior analytics tools have begun providing some visibility into how credentials are being used, but not always where they exist. Both are important capabilities for organizations to have, Shook adds.

Rick Holland, vice president of strategy at Digital Shadows, says the single most important takeaway from the report is organizations should run multi-factor authentication on all external-facing services such as VPN, Outlook Web Access, and SaaS applications.

They should also implement a policy that states that work-related email accounts shouldn’t be used for personal use.

"Include this policy in security awareness training [and] provide employees with password management solutions for home use," he says. "This approach is similar to providing staff free access to endpoint security solutions for personal use."

Related stories:

 

Jai Vijayan is a seasoned technology reporter with over 20 years of experience in IT trade journalism. He was most recently a Senior Editor at Computerworld, where he covered information security and data privacy issues for the publication. Over the course of his 20-year ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
MoviePass Leaves Credit Card Numbers, Personal Data Exposed Online
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  8/21/2019
New FISMA Report Shows Progress, Gaps in Federal Cybersecurity
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  8/21/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-7617
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-22
When the Elastic APM agent for Python versions before 5.1.0 is run as a CGI script, there is a variable name clash flaw if a remote attacker can control the proxy header. This could result in an attacker redirecting collected APM data to a proxy of their choosing.
CVE-2019-14751
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-22
NLTK Downloader before 3.4.5 is vulnerable to a directory traversal, allowing attackers to write arbitrary files via a ../ (dot dot slash) in an NLTK package (ZIP archive) that is mishandled during extraction.
CVE-2019-9153
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-22
Improper Verification of a Cryptographic Signature in OpenPGP.js <=4.1.2 allows an attacker to forge signed messages by replacing its signatures with a "standalone" or "timestamp" signature.
CVE-2019-9154
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-22
Improper Verification of a Cryptographic Signature in OpenPGP.js <=4.1.2 allows an attacker to pass off unsigned data as signed.
CVE-2019-9155
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-22
A cryptographic issue in OpenPGP.js <=4.2.0 allows an attacker who is able provide forged messages and gain feedback about whether decryption of these messages succeeded to conduct an invalid curve attack in order to gain the victim's ECDH private key.