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
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 8/10/2020
Researcher Finds New Office Macro Attacks for MacOS
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  8/7/2020
Digital Clones Could Cause Problems for Identity Systems
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  8/8/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
This special report takes a look at how enterprises are using threat intelligence, as well as emerging best practices for integrating threat intel into security operations and incident response. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-8913
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-12
A local, arbitrary code execution vulnerability exists in the SplitCompat.install endpoint in Android's Play Core Library versions prior to 1.7.2. A malicious attacker could create an apk which targets a specific application, and if a victim were to install this apk, the attacker could perform a dir...
CVE-2020-7029
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
A Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) vulnerability was discovered in the System Management Interface Web component of Avaya Aura Communication Manager and Avaya Aura Messaging. This vulnerability could allow an unauthenticated remote attacker to perform Web administration actions with the privileged ...
CVE-2020-17489
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
An issue was discovered in certain configurations of GNOME gnome-shell through 3.36.4. When logging out of an account, the password box from the login dialog reappears with the password still visible. If the user had decided to have the password shown in cleartext at login time, it is then visible f...
CVE-2020-17495
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
django-celery-results through 1.2.1 stores task results in the database. Among the data it stores are the variables passed into the tasks. The variables may contain sensitive cleartext information that does not belong unencrypted in the database.
CVE-2020-0260
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
There is a possible out of bounds read due to an incorrect bounds check.Product: AndroidVersions: Android SoCAndroid ID: A-152225183