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.

Endpoint //

Authentication

4/8/2019
06:30 PM
Robert Lemos
Robert Lemos
News
100%
0%

Credential-Stuffing Attacks Behind 30 Billion Login Attempts in 2018

Using e-mail addresses and passwords from compromised sites, attackers most often targeted retail sites, video-streaming services, and entertainment companies, according to Akamai.

Credential stuffing — where attackers use e-mail addresses and passwords stolen from one site to attempt to access other sites — took off in 2018, with nearly 30 billion documented attempts recorded by Internet infrastructure firm Akamai, according to its new report.

The attacks are enabled by easy-to-use software and widespread botnets that can take lists of usernames and passwords and try to log into a variety of sites. On average, Akamai saw more than 115 million attempts to use stolen credentials per day, and three times during the year the attacks spiked to more than 250 million attempts per day.

The widespread attempts to log into a variety of services mean that companies need to be on watch, says Martin McKeay, a security researcher and editorial director at Akamai.

"This is not something that just happens to someone else," he says. "This is not something that you can ignore. It is a constant problem."

Attacks that attempt to access sites using stolen or easy-to-guess credentials have become increasingly popular. In March, for example, the FBI warned management-software firm Citrix that attackers had breached the company's network using a low-volume credential-stuffing attack — known as credential spraying — where an attacker sends a relatively low number of attempts to each targeted server. Indoing so, the attacker can avoid triggering hard limits on the number of log-in attempts.

In its recent report, security firm Rapid7 also found that credential stuffing attacks had taken off, ostensibly because so many username-password pairs have been stolen from compromised sites.

"There are now upward of 1.5 billion credentials floating in the wild ready for use by malicious miscreants at an exposed service near your data," the company stated.

Akamai found that attackers most often targeted retail sites, video-streaming services, and entertainment companies. Because the company defined a credential-stuffing attack as a log-in attempt using an e-mail address, financial firms did not show up often in the data set, as most financial firms do not allow customer to log in with an e-mail address.

Online groups are after all sorts of credentials, McKeay says.

"They are looking at getting your streaming credentials, and they are looking for your gaming credentials — there is a large market for these things," he says. "If they can go and prove that what they have is a valid set of credentials, there is money to be made there."

The popularity of credential-stuffing attacks is also driven by easy-to-use software, the Akamai report stated. A tool named SNIPR is a popular entry-level program for targeting the simplest targets, such as gaming networks and video-streaming services. Another tool, known as STORM, allows for custom configurations that are traded and sold on the Dark Web, according to Akamai. 

Other tools are designed to test stolen credentials' validity. Credentials proved to be valid have a much higher value in online black markets. In January, security researchers found a collection of 773 million e-mail addresses and 21 million passwords for sale on the Dark Web. 

Intuit warned users of TurboTax in February that the reuse of usernames and passwords had allowed attackers to compromise an unknown number of accounts. 

"Based on our investigation, it appears that an unauthorized party may have accessed your account by using your username and password combination that was obtained from a non-Intuit source," the company stated in a letter sent to consumers

Akamai urged companies to continue to educate users on the reasons for using unique passwords paired with a password manager. And users should request two-factor authentication whenever a service offers the security measure.

"When discussing [attack takeover] and [all-in-one] scripts, criminals often complain about the use of multifactor authentication, which is a particularly effective method of stopping most of their attacks," the company stated in its report.

Related Content

 

 

 

Join Dark Reading LIVE for two cybersecurity summits at Interop 2019. Learn from the industry's most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the Interop agenda here.

Veteran technology journalist of more than 20 years. Former research engineer. Written for more than two dozen publications, including CNET News.com, Dark Reading, MIT's Technology Review, Popular Science, and Wired News. Five awards for journalism, including Best Deadline ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
REISEN1955
50%
50%
REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
4/9/2019 | 10:51:47 AM
On Passwords
Alot of home and non-business accounts have the same passwords, in multiple use locations.  Why?  Easy to remember is the sole reason.  Why clutter your mind.  Now this is insane at least users should vary the FORM of the password with special characters and shift things around.  That by itself would do wonders.  I use a word from a known hobby, a special char and an associated number that is wicked easy to modify using, oh, l for a 1 and so forth.   The syntax itself is universal and allows a huge range of variations.  
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/9/2020
Russian Cyber Gang 'Cosmic Lynx' Focuses on Email Fraud
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  7/7/2020
Why Cybersecurity's Silence Matters to Black Lives
Tiffany Ricks, CEO, HacWare,  7/8/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
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 Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-15105
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
Django Two-Factor Authentication before 1.12, stores the user's password in clear text in the user session (base64-encoded). The password is stored in the session when the user submits their username and password, and is removed once they complete authentication by entering a two-factor authenticati...
CVE-2020-11061
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
In Bareos Director less than or equal to 16.2.10, 17.2.9, 18.2.8, and 19.2.7, a heap overflow allows a malicious client to corrupt the director's memory via oversized digest strings sent during initialization of a verify job. Disabling verify jobs mitigates the problem. This issue is also patched in...
CVE-2020-4042
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
Bareos before version 19.2.8 and earlier allows a malicious client to communicate with the director without knowledge of the shared secret if the director allows client initiated connection and connects to the client itself. The malicious client can replay the Bareos director's cram-md5 challenge to...
CVE-2020-11081
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
osquery before version 4.4.0 enables a priviledge escalation vulnerability. If a Window system is configured with a PATH that contains a user-writable directory then a local user may write a zlib1.dll DLL, which osquery will attempt to load. Since osquery runs with elevated privileges this enables l...
CVE-2020-6114
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
An exploitable SQL injection vulnerability exists in the Admin Reports functionality of Glacies IceHRM v26.6.0.OS (Commit bb274de1751ffb9d09482fd2538f9950a94c510a) . A specially crafted HTTP request can cause SQL injection. An attacker can make an authenticated HTTP request to trigger this vulnerabi...