Following the news that an unknown hacker has gathered up to 711 million email accounts stored on an “open and accessible” server in the Netherlands, Brian Laing, VP at Lastline explains how hackers merge data from multiple sources and how these hackers appear to have been collated from previous leaks, including the 2012 LinkedIn data breach:
“The sheer size of the breach is alone a cause for concern, let alone the damage it could cause further down the line. This breach is an example of how hackers merge data from multiple sources, building dossiers on potential victims, including spear phishing targets. In this instance, the majority of the passwords appear to have been collated from previous leaks, including the 2012 LinkedIn data breach. Every breach reveals data that criminals can use to launch additional attacks, either by the initial attackers or other criminals to whom they sell the compromised data.
“Every breach is a reminder of the importance of strong authentication measures in both personal and professional devices, networks, and web applications. The blurring of personal and professional use of enterprise assets such as laptops underscores the criticality of protecting organizations from the network core to the outer edges against advanced persistent threats and evasive malware that could be introduced as a result of an infected personal device targeted as a result of a prior data breach. Data breaches provide a distribution hub for malware for years to come.”