SecurityBrief Australia logo
Australia's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

Expert comment: What the Collection #2-5 data dump means for credential abuse

By Kai Ping Lew
Mon 4 Feb 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Last week, a second major data dump hit the dark web in two weeks, compromising of 2.2 billion unique usernames and passwords.

The data dump was dubbed Collection #2-5 and contained 845GB of data and over 25 billion unique records.

Users can go to the Hasso Plattner Info Leak Checker to see if their email details and credentials have been compromised in the latest data dump.

Here is what security experts and executives had to say about the data leak, the implications on phishing and credential stuffing, and how password hygiene needs to improve drastically moving forward.

LastPass CTO Sandor Palfy

The colossal volume of data leaked in the Collection #2-5 data dump makes Collection #1 now seem a drop in the ocean by comparison.

These data dumps highlight the critical need for good password practices.

Weak, reused and compromised passwords are frequently the cause behind many breaches, yet people continue to display risky password behaviour.

Our recent Psychology of Passwords survey revealed that 91% knew that using the same password for multiple accounts is a security risk, but 59% admitted that they continued to do so.

If longer and more complex passwords are used, then they become harder to crack.

It’s crucial that people create a unique, strong password that hasn’t been used on other online accounts, for every online account they have.

If you use the same password for multiple sites, and one site is breached and your password is cracked, attackers will go after your other accounts, more important accounts, likely even before you learn about the breach.

Even if a password is brute-forced, the damage is less if it’s unique, as the impact will be limited to that account alone.

It’s also worth turning on two-factor authentication where possible as this adds an additional layer of protection that will ensure an attacker won’t be able to access an account even if they do obtain the password.

The extensive impact of weak and reused passwords can no longer be ignored and these data leaks should serve as a wake-up call to all of us – businesses and consumers alike.

Terry Ray, senior vice president and Imperva fellow

This collection of credentials gives cybercriminals the ammo needed to attempt credential stuffing, password guessing and other iterative processes at account takeover, which is essentially giving cyber attackers a key to your front door.

Armed with the recent and past credentials, hackers could access consumers’ data, troll social media platforms to spread propaganda, cash in on hard-earned airline miles, sell contact data to spammers and even access bank accounts.

To make matters worse, if consumers reused passwords at work, hackers would breaking into enterprise infrastructures to steal corporate data costing businesses millions in damages if that data were to get into the wrong hands.

This is why it is critical that consumers never reuse passwords across different accounts they hold, but also change these passwords consistently and set up dual-factor authentication to better protect themselves.

Businesses should be extra vigilant over the next few weeks as these credentials make their rounds through the dark channels.

Post credential leak, account takeover attempts have historically spiked immediately following incidents like this.

Successful logins using these credentials are difficult to identify, though technology does exist assist IT Security teams.

Most teams assume that they won’t be able to prevent every attempt and instead focus their security around their most critical data assets, by monitoring all activity to those resources and flagging or preventing unusual access internally.  

These changes the threat from one of identifying the wrong person using the right credentials, to a threat of the right credential doing very unusual things which is easier to detect and differentiate from previous modelled behaviour. 

SailPoint CMO Juliette Rizkallah

The latest mega breach of billions of records is a hard-learned lesson that good password hygiene is paramount, and more needs to be done to ensure proper password management.

80% of SailPoint Market Pulse Survey’s Australian respondents admitted to reusing passwords across accounts, both work and personal.

This is a needless risk as we continue to learn that the impact of old breaches lingers and newer threats like credential stuffing give hackers a new way to take advantage of users who don’t follow password best practices.

While people cannot protect data that has already been compromised, they can certainly take steps now to protect their sensitive information from being affected again.

Select longer and more complex passwords and add special and mixed case characters.

Be unique and never use the same password across different websites.

Finally, just watch the road. Always be aware of where you are on the Internet and take specific note of anything and anybody that asks you to ‘login’ or provide any ‘secrets’ or personal information.”

Digital Guardian cybersecurity vice president Tim Bandos

In situations like this, the practice of good password hygiene becomes critical otherwise you’re putting sensitive accounts and credentials at risk.

We know that in addition to credit cards, email addresses and PII, password credentials are highly sought-after by cybercriminals – so use a different password for each of your online accounts.

Consider using a password manager.

There are a number of easy-to-use password apps out there, many of which are free.

Make sure your passwords are unique and complex to ensure that hackers cannot guess them. If you’re notified that your account has been compromised, change your password immediately.

Lastly, where possible, enable multi-factor authentication.

Popular websites like Facebook, Gmail and Skype all offer this service. 

Rich Campagna, CMO, Bitglass

Acquiring credentials to access sensitive data is increasingly easy and incredibly lucrative for today's hackers, and allowing the exposure of 2.2 billion records to the public internet is a significant offense by the organisation.

Leaked credentials leave individuals vulnerable to account hijacking across all services where they recycle their usernames and passwords.

Unfortunately, this includes the corporate accounts they use for work purposes, meaning that their employers are also put at risk.

Enterprises must follow best practices in authenticating users, starting with a proactive approach to identifying suspicious logins.

Security technologies like data loss prevention (DLP), multi-factor authentication (MFA), and data encryption are much more effective than basic password protection.” 

OneSpan innovation centre chief security architect Steven Murdoch

This password leak shows that large quantities of stolen passwords are readily available to anyone, regardless of how low their budget.

However, data from recent breaches will be considerably more expensive to obtain.

Companies should recognise the limitations of password authentication and are in the best position to mitigate the weaknesses. They should implement additional measures, such as the detection of suspicious behaviour.

Two-factor authentication, or even better, FIDO/U2F, should be offered to customers. Customers can also help by not re-using passwords across multiple sites and using a password manager if needed.

The website gives instructions on how to enable two-factor authentication on many popular sites, as enabling 2FA, and preferably FIDO/U2F, will significantly help to improve their security.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Delinea’s Joseph Carson recognised with OnCon Icon Award
Delinea chief security scientist and advisory CISO Joseph Carson has been recognised as a Top 50 Information Security Professional in the 2022 OnCon Icon Awards.
Story image
Adobe study finds lack of digital trust and utilisation in Australian Government agencies
New research commissioned by Adobe has revealed a significant lack of digital trust within Australian Government departments, along with the continued underutilisation of key digital processes.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Eight top DevSecOps trends to support IT innovation in 2022
The use of DevSecOps practices is growing, as it is increasingly seen as the best way to produce high-quality and secure code. So what are the current trends?
Story image
Digital Fingerprint
Decline in counterfeit cherries after digital fingerprinting
Reid Fruits says there’s been a dramatic decline in counterfeit products for its cherries over the past three export seasons to Asia because of digital fingerprinting.
Story image
Businesses unprepared to defend against ransomware attacks
Ransomware attacks continue to impact organisations worldwide with high costs, but businesses are still largely unprepared.
Story image
Ingram Micro launches vendor-backed security program
Ingram Micro has unveiled a new program intended to give resellers the effective offerings their customers need to stay safe in the evolving threat landscape.
Story image
Cloud Security
Palo Alto Networks bolsters cloud native security offerings
Latest Prisma Cloud platform updates help organisations continuously monitor and secure web applications with maximum flexibility.
Story image
Significant security concerns resulting from open source software ubiquity
"The risk is real, and the industry must work closely together in order to move away from poor open source or software supply chain security practices."
Story image
Overcoming hybrid and multi-cloud challenges to drive innovation
Driven by improvements in technology, financial services companies have advanced both internal and external systems and processes, with the likes of digitisation, personalisation and risk management redefining the industry.
Story image
Zscaler launches co-located data centres in Canberra and Auckland
The investment will offer public and private sector enterprises greater resilience in support of their zero trust cybersecurity posture.
Story image
New study reveals 51% of employees using unauthorised apps
The research shows that 92% of employees and managers in large enterprises want full control over applications, but they don't have it.
Story image
Threat actors ramp up their social engineering attacks
As people get better at identifying potential threats in their inbox, threat actors must evolve their methods. Their new M.O? Social engineering.
Story image
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from CrowdStrike
Scott Jarkoff joins us today to discuss current trends in the cyber threat landscape, and the reporting work CrowdStrike is doing to prevent further cyber harm.
Story image
Gartner's top recommendations for security leaders
"Leaders now recognise that major disruption is only one crisis away. We can’t control it, but we can evolve our thinking, philosophy, program and architecture.”
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - ActiveCampaign, Arcserve, LogRhythm & Qlik
We round up all job appointments from June 17-22, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Phishing attacks are making a comeback
No matter what approach or tool cybercriminals use to breach a network, they all have one thing in common: access.
WSLHD and PwC’s Consulting Business came together to solve through the challenges of COVID-19. A model of care was developed to the NSW Health Agency for Clinical Innovation guidelines with new technology platforms and an entirely new workforce.
Link image
Story image
Internet of Things
Domino's Pizza: A blueprint for secure enterprise IoT deployment
Increasingly, organisations are embracing smart technologies to underpin innovations that can enhance safety and productivity in every part of our lives, from industrial systems, utilities, and building management to various forms of business enablement.
Story image
FIDO Alliance releases guidelines for optimising UX with FIDO Security Keys
The new guidelines aim to accelerate multi-factor authentication deployment and adoption with FIDO security keys.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Vectra AI named as AWS security competency partner
Threat detection and response company Vectra AI has announced that it has become an Amazon Web Services Security Competency Partner.
Story image
Email threats spike 101%, remains a top attack vector
"Each year we see innovation in the threat landscape, but each year email remains a major threat to organisations."
Story image
Zero trust security adoption rises 27% in just two years
A survey of WAN managers has revealed that multi-factor authentication and single sign-on are the top zero trust features implemented.
Story image
State Library of Victoria
State Library of Victoria entrusts Oracle support and security to Rimini Street
“Our finance team are very happy with the support and security that Rimini Street provides, which keeps our assets and our customers secure."
Story image
HP Inc
Firmware attacks significant threat in age of hybrid work
Changing workforce dynamics are creating new challenges for IT teams around firmware security, according to new research.
Story image
WatchGuard Technologies
Ransomware volume doubled 2021 total by end of Q1 2022
Ransomware detections in the first quarter of this year doubled the total volume reported for 2021, according to a new report. 
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Juniper study reveals top AI trends in APAC region
Juniper's research shows an increase in enterprise artificial intelligence adoption over the last 12 months is yielding tangible benefits to organisations.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Abnormal Security finds financial supply chain under threat
New research by Abnormal Security has found a rising trend in financial supply chain compromise as threat actors increasingly impersonate vendors.
Story image
Industry-first comprehensive risk-based API security enhances protection
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have become a crucial part of operating web and mobile application businesses and are causing significant economic growth in the digital sector.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Cybersecurity priorities for digital leaders navigating digital transformation
In recent years, Asia-Pacific has especially been a hotspot for cyberattacks, and as we continue into 2022, it’s evident that the problem is becoming more significant.
Story image
Network Security
Netskope announces zero trust network access updates
Customers can now apply zero trust principles across a range of hybrid work security needs, including SaaS, IaaS, private applications, and endpoint devices.
Story image
How New South Wales state departments achieved cloud migration success
State departments in New South Wales are heading to the cloud to achieve better workflow solutions, and one company is paving the way for their success.
Story image
Internet of Things
ManageEngine wins big in IDC MarketScape assessment
ManageEngine's Endpoint Central service has been recognised as a leader by IDC MarketScape in several categories including Internet of Things device deployments and UEM software for SMEs.
Story image
Tech and data’s role in the changing face of compliance
Accenture's study found that 93% of respondents agree or strongly agree new technologies such as AI and cloud make compliance easier.
Story image
Digital Transformation
What CISOs think about cyber security, visibility and cloud
Seeking to uncover the minds of CISOs and CIOs across Asia Pacific, my company recently asked Frost & Sullivan to take a snapshot of cloud adoption behaviour in the region.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Bitdefender, Cohesity, Fortinet & MODIFI
We round up all job appointments from June 27-30, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Cyber Criminal
Identity and access: the fight is on
Blue team defenders are used to protecting our data, applications, and users with access controls and other security mechanisms, which is why attacks like this are especially challenging when they target identity and access control systems.
Story image
Enterprise Resource Planning / ERP
Five ways your ERP is letting you down and why its time for a change
Wiise explains while moving to a new system may seem daunting, the truth is that legacy systems could be holding your business back.
Story image
Aqua Security, CIS create software supply chain security guide
Aqua Securityand the Center for Internet Security have together released the industry’s first formal guidelines for software supply chain security.
Story image
Secureworks reveals new information on BRONZE STARLIGHT threat group
New research from Secureworks has uncovered new information on the Chinese threat group BRONZE STARLIGHT and how they are using targeted ransomware to initiate complicated attacks.
Story image
Stock security features inadequate in face of rising risk
"Organisations must proactively find ways of identifying unseen vulnerabilities and should take a diligent, holistic approach to cybersecurity."
PwC's Consulting Business and PwC's Indigenous Consulting are proud to play an important role in helping Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience build IMAGI-NATION, a free online university for marginalised communities around the world.
Link image
Story image
Forescout reveals top vulnerabilities impacting OT vendors
Forescout’s Vedere Labs has disclosed OT: ICEFALL, naming 56 vulnerabilities affecting devices from 10 operational technology vendors.
Story image
Trend Micro
5G network projects driven by improving security and privacy
Trend Micro's new study reveals the prospect of improved security and privacy capabilities are the main motivations behind private 5G wireless network projects.
Story image
Identity and Access Management
Ping Identity launches corporate venture capital fund
Ping Identity has launched a corporate venture capital fund to foster innovative offerings for the identity security market.