Two Million social media credentials stolen by cybercriminals

Pierluigi Paganini December 05, 2013

Two Million stolen Facebook, Twitter login credentials were found on ‘Pony Botnet’ Command and Control Server by Trustwave’s researchers.

Two Million social media credentials stolen by cybercriminals have been found by security experts at Trustwave’s SpiderLabs, the collection includes popular social media like Facebook and Twitter and popular websites such as Google and Yahoo.

Trustwave’s SpiderLabs has published an intriguing blog post to describe the discovery made on a Netherlands-based Pony Botnet Controller Server.

It is not clear how the hackers have stolen two million compromised accounts, it is possible that they have used a malware to collect them.

The experts revealed to have had the access to the Administration panel of the botnet thanks to the knowledge acquired after the public disclosure of the Pony Version 1.9 source code. The Admin Panel provided to the researchers the statistics and database data.

The Pony Control Admin panel is written in Russian language, the researchers provided the statistics on stolen users’ credentials:

  • 1,580,000 website login credentials stolen (including 318,121 Facebook login credentials, 21,708 Twitter accounts, 54,437 Google-based accounts and 59,549 Yahoo accounts)
  • 320,000 email account credentials stolen
  • 41,000 FTP account credentials stolen
  • 3,000 Remote Desktop credentials stolen
  • 3,000 Secure Shell account credentials stolen

two million credential account compromised

Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Twitter and LinkedIn were most hit social media platforms, the list of domains also includes the Russian social networks and The analysis of  Geo-location statistics revealed that the cybercriminals concentrated their effort on the Netherlands, but Thailand, Germany, Singapore, and Indonesia were also seriously targeted.

two million credentials compromised passwords analysisAs reported in the above graph the majority of the stolen passwords were not considerable sufficiently robust.

The discovery is the confirmation of the great interest of cybercrime in the exploitation of social media for their illegal activities. The account could be sold on the underground by cybercriminals or could used to arrange a targeted attack (e.g.spear phishingwatering hole).

During the last RSA Europe security conference in Amsterdam, the cyberdefense specialist Aamir Lakhani, who works as a solutions architect at IT services provider World Wide Technology, made an interesting presentation on the abuse of LinkedIn network to launch an attack.

The suggestions to preserve our digital identity are always the same, keep system and applications up-to-date and virus-free with the adoption of defensive systems. Use strong passwords and don’t share them with friend and colleagues, make sure to don’t use the same password for authentication on different web services.  Enable 2FA to improve authentication processes for popular services such as Google and Facebook.

As reported in the blog post:

“And remember kids, some ponies turn out to be evil Trojan horses.”

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –  Cybercrime, stolen credentials)

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