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Two million stolen passwords for Facebook, Google and Twitter found online

04 Dec 2013
Security threats - password theft

Almost two million login credentials including those for sites such as Facebook, Google and Twitter have been found online by security researchers.

Researchers from Trustwave’s SpiderLabs division posted a blog post saying they had found the information online after using the source code of a botnet controller called Pony, which was leaked online.

Using this data they were able to trace information linked to its data-stealing capabilities and they came across the data dump of passwords from leading websites and services. Other sites affected included Yahoo and LinkedIn.

Overall 1.58 million website login details were stolen, 320,000 email account credentials, 41,000 FTP logins and 3,000 Remote Desktop credentials.

The researchers said it appeared that the attack was being carried out from the Netherlands, as a proxy server there was operating as an intermediary between infected machines and the overall command-and-control server botnet.

“This technique of using a reverse proxy is commonly used by attackers in order to prevent the command-and-control server from being discovered and shut down. Outgoing traffic from an infected machine only shows a connection to the proxy server, which is easily replaceable in case it is taken down,” they wrote.

“While this behaviour is interesting in and of itself, it does prevent us from learning more about the targeted countries in this attack, if there were any.”

The researchers also trawled the data to see what some of the most common passwords were. The data showed the same old story that weak, easily guessed passwords remain the norm.

In total, 15,820 accounts used the basic 123456 password, while the second and third most common were 123456789 and 1234. The fourth most popular was the predictable use of ‘password’, while the combination 12345 came fifth.

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Dan Worth
About

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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