21 Million stolen credentials from Fortune 500 companies available on the dark web

Pierluigi Paganini October 31, 2019

Roughly 21 million login credentials for Fortune 500 companies are available for sale, in plain text, in multiple forums and black market places in the dark web.

More than 21 million login credentials belonging to Fortune 500 companies are available for sale in various places on the dark web.

Experts at ImmuniWeb discovered that 21,040,296 login credentials for 500 Fortune companies are offered in plain text on multiple services in the dark web.

The researchers used their OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) technology to crawl places and resources within the TOR network, across various web forums, Pastebin, IRC channels, social networks, messenger chats and many other locations where it is possible find leaked data.

“We found over 21 million (21,040,296) credentials belonging to Fortune 500 companies, amid which over 16 million (16,055,871) were compromised during the last 12 months.” states the report published by ImmuniWeb. “As many as 95% of the credentials contained unencrypted, or bruteforced and cracked by the attackers, plaintext passwords.”

The following table shows stolen credentials per industry:

Fortune 500 dark web per industry

Most of the login credentials (95%) include plaintext passwords, 76% of them were compromised during the last 12 months.

Only 4.9 million (4,957,093) credentials contained fully unique passwords, a circumstance that confirms the bad habit of many users to reuse passwords.

The analysis of the passwords revealed that many companies continue to use weak passwords, especially those belonging to the retail (47,29%), Telecommunications (37,57%), Industrials (37,36%).

Experts noticed that Technology, Financials and Energy are the top 3 industries with the largest volume of credentials exposed in breaches of adult-oriented websites and resources.

Another interesting data emerged from the report, on average, 11% of the stolen passwords from one breach are identical pointing out to usage of default passwords, proliferation of [spam & data scraping] bots creating accounts, or a previous password reset setting an identical password to a large set of accounts.

“These numbers are both frustrating and alarming. Cybercriminals are smart and pragmatic, they focus on the shortest, cheapest and safest way to get your crown jewels. The great wealth of stolen credentials accessible on the Dark Web is a modern-day Klondike for mushrooming threat actors who don’t even need to invest in expensive 0day or time-consuming APTs.” concludes Ilia Kolochenko, CEO and Founder of ImmuniWeb.

“With some persistence, they easily break-in being unnoticed by security systems and grab what they want. Worse, many such intrusions are technically uninvestigable due to lack of logs or control over the breached [third-party] systems.”

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Fortune 500, dark web)

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