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Malware

Exposed Secrets: Unmasking Data Breaches, Stolen Credentials & Illicit Dark Web Bazaars

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Infostealer malware is a significant and often underestimated threat to corporate information security teams. These malicious programs infect computers, steal credentials saved in browsers, along with active session cookies and other data, and send it back to the attacker’s command and control infrastructure. In some cases, the malware even self-terminates after completing its mission.

In this article, we’ll discuss how cybercriminals use stolen credentials to gain unauthorized access to privileged IT infrastructure, leading to data breaches and ransomware attacks. But infostealers aren’t the only threat; leaked credentials from more traditional sources continue to pose substantial risks to organizations.

It’s no secret that people often reuse the same password across multiple applications, creating a perfect opportunity for hackers to brute force their way into software-as-a-service (SaaS) and on-premises applications.

At IT Services, we currently monitor over forty million stealer logs. This number is growing by millions every month, with an expected increase in 2024. Additionally, we monitor over 14 billion leaked credentials found in data dumps across the dark web.

This unique perspective allows us to see firsthand how threat actors acquire, distribute, and use leaked credentials.

Understanding Leaked Credentials

To better comprehend leaked credentials, we can categorize them into tiers based on the method of leakage and the risk they pose to organizations. This approach, pioneered by Jason Haddix, helps security professionals clearly communicate credential leak risks to managers and corporate executives.

Tier 1 Leaked Credentials

Tier 1 leaked credentials result from third-party application or service breaches. When these breaches occur, all users of the affected service have their passwords compromised and distributed in a data dump on the dark web. This is the most common type of leaked credential.

For example, imagine a fictional corporation called Scatterholt with user logins for hundreds of thousands of consumers. If attackers breach Scatterholt and access the identity and access management system, they could steal these credentials and leak them onto the dark web.

Scatterholt could force a password reset for all users, but it’s likely that many users have reused the same password across other services. This leak gives threat actors the opportunity to use brute force techniques to gain access to other applications that share the same password.

Defending Against Tier 1 Leaked Credentials

Organizations can employ several well-researched defenses to reduce risk. First and foremost: monitor a leaked credentials database for corporate employee emails. This single action can make a massive difference as threat actors deliberately target passwords associated with corporate email addresses to facilitate data breaches.

Secondly, require users to routinely reset passwords on a schedule, ensuring that if a specific password is breached, they will have already rotated other corporate credentials.

Finally, we recommend using a password manager with a policy requiring employees to randomize passwords for various applications and store them securely, reducing the risk of employees making only minor changes to passwords.

The Special Case of Combolists

Combolists are collections of credential pairs, organized by service or geographically, used by cybercriminals in combination with brute force tools to attempt to gain access to various services.

Screenshot of combolist
Screenshot of combolist
Source: IT Services

These credentials often come from previous known breaches, stealer logs, or are entirely fabricated. The exact source is never entirely clear, but the sheer volume of credentials available through combolists, combined with frequent password reuse, makes them a significant attack vector.

Tier 2 Leaked Credentials

Tier 2 leaked credentials pose a unique risk to companies. These credentials are harvested directly from users through infostealer malware that steals all passwords saved in the browser.

We consider tier 2 leaked credentials to be of significantly increased risk to both the company and the user for the following reasons:

  • A single stealer log will contain all of the credentials the user saved in their browser. This creates a perfect opportunity for threat actors to socially engineer the victim, the IT help desk, or even the company using the victim’s information.
  • These logs contain the plain text username, password, and host for the credentials, often for hundreds of different logins. Threat actors have an enormous advantage when they can see dozens of password variations that the user uses.
  • These logs often contain form-fill data with answers to secret questions, which can be effectively used to bypass websites with secret questions.

Screenshot of the information stealer logs can contain, including cookies, passwords, and other sensitive information
Screenshot of the information stealer logs can contain, including cookies, passwords, and other sensitive information
Source: IT Services

Tier 3 Leaked Credentials

This tier of leaks, also from stealer logs, poses an extreme risk to organizations. Fresh stealer logs often contain active session cookies, which threat actors can easily use for session hijacking attacks. In these attacks, they impersonate the victim and potentially bypass two-factor authentication (2FA) and multi-factor authentication (MFA) controls.

Discovering a fresh stealer log with corporate credentials should immediately prompt an incident investigation, as it’s highly likely that the passwords are working and that threat actors could directly access corporate resources.

Screenshot from Telegram of a malware store
Screenshot from Telegram of a malware store
Source: IT Services

Defending Against Tier 3 Leaked Credentials

Limit the time-to-live (TTL) for corporate applications to reduce the risk of session cookies remaining valid if distributed as a result of an infostealer infection.

Multi-Factor Authentication Isn’t a Silver Bullet

Not monitoring leaked credentials likely means that many of your employees use single-factor authentication, as their passwords may have been exposed. Many people believe that enabling 2FA is sufficient protection against stolen credentials, but the reality is that threat actors are aware of the obstacle 2FA presents and have developed techniques to overcome it.

Whether through social engineering of employees, using 2FA bots to capture one-time codes/passwords from victims, or even SIM-swapping, there are many ways to bypass MFA controls that are actively used in the wild.

The best defense against these types of attacks involves using authenticator apps, which feature temporary rotating codes instead of one-time passwords received via email or SMS. These applications are usually more secure and ensure that the user controls a second device to some extent.

Concerned about Credentials? We Can Help

IT Services monitors more than 14 billion leaked credentials distributed on the dark web and hundreds of millions leaked through infostealer malware.

Our platform sets up in 30 minutes and provides robust detection for leaked employee credentials across hundreds of forums, channels, and marketplaces.

Check out our free trial.

Sponsored and written by IT Services.

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Malware

Shopify Debunks Hacking Claims, Exposes Stolen Data Connection to Third-Party App

Shopify has denied being hacked after suspicious emails were sent to customers, blaming a third-party app for the data breach. The firm’s investigation revealed that the app had accessed and stolen data from Shopify’s API, but the incident was not a security breach of the platform itself.

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Shopify, the popular e-commerce platform, has recently denied experiencing a data breach after a threat actor started selling customer data that they claimed to have stolen from Shopify’s network. But, don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it seems.

What Shopify had to say

According to Shopify, the company’s systems have not suffered a security incident. They told us, “The data loss reported was caused by a third-party app. The app developer intends to notify affected customers.

This statement comes after a threat actor, known as ‘888’, began selling data they claimed was stolen from Shopify back in 2024.

Selling alleged Shopify data on a hacking forum
Selling alleged Shopify data on a hacking forum
Source: IT Services

What’s in the data?

The threat actor shared data samples that include a person’s Shopify ID, first name, last name, email, mobile number, order count, total spent, email subscription, email subscription date, SMS subscription, and SMS subscription date. While this information is significant, it’s important to remember that Shopify itself wasn’t directly breached.

Unfortunately, Shopify did not provide any further information about the app from which this customer’s data was stolen.

A history of data leaks

The threat actor, 888, has been linked to previous data sales or leaks allegedly involving companies like Credit Suisse, Shell, Heineken, Accenture India, and Unicef.

It’s also worth noting that in 2020, Shopify disclosed that two “rogue members” of its support team accessed customer transactional records of about 200 merchants. While this is concerning, it’s essential to recognize the proactive steps the company has taken to address security issues.


Stay informed and protect your data

While this particular incident doesn’t seem to be a direct breach of Shopify’s systems, it’s still a reminder to stay vigilant when it comes to our data. Make sure to stay informed about potential threats and take the necessary steps to protect your personal information.

If you’re interested in learning more about cybersecurity and how to keep your data safe, don’t hesitate to contact us and keep coming back for more valuable information.

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Malware

Hackers Expose Supposed Taylor Swift Tickets, Intensify Ticketmaster Blackmail with Power Word

Hackers have leaked alleged Taylor Swift concert tickets and intensified their extortion efforts against Ticketmaster. The group, known as REvil, is demanding a $10 million ransom for the stolen data and threatening to reveal more.

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Imagine being a die-hard Taylor Swift fan, eagerly awaiting her next concert, and then finding out that your ticket information has been compromised. Well, that’s precisely what happened to a large number of fans recently when hackers leaked the barcode data of 166,000 Taylor Swift Eras Tour tickets. The hackers have warned that more events will be leaked if a $2 million extortion demand isn’t met.

Back in May, a notorious threat actor named ShinyHunters started selling data on 560 million Ticketmaster customers for $500,000. Ticketmaster later confirmed the data breach, stating it was from their account on Snowflake, a cloud-based data warehousing company they use to store databases, process data, and perform analytics.

By April, threat actors had begun downloading Snowflake databases of at least 165 organizations using credentials stolen by information-stealing malware. They then blackmailed these companies, demanding payment to prevent the data from being leaked or sold to other threat actors. Companies known to have had data stolen from their Snowflake accounts include Neiman Marcus, Los Angeles Unified School District, Advance Auto Parts, Pure Storage, and Satander.

When Concert Dreams Turn into Nightmares

Today, a threat actor known as Sp1d3rHunters has leaked what they claim is the ticket data for 166,000 Taylor Swift Eras Tour barcodes used to gain entry on various concert dates.

Sp1d3rHunters, previously named Sp1d3r, is the threat actor behind the sale of data stolen from Snowflake accounts, publicly extorting the various companies for payments. The extortion demand, shared by threat intel service HackManac, reads, “Pay us $2million USD or we leak all 680M of your users’ information and 30 million more event barcodes, including more Taylor Swift events, P!nk, Sting, Sporting events F1 Formula Racing, MLB, NFL, and thousands more events.”

The post claims the barcode data is for upcoming Taylor Swift concerts in Miami, New Orleans, and Indianapolis. It includes a small sample of the alleged barcode data, containing the value used to create a scannable barcode, seat information, the face value of tickets, and other information. The threat actor even shared details on how to turn this data into a scannable barcode.

While the barcode data wasn’t part of the initial leak of stolen Ticketmaster data samples released by the threat actors in May, some of the newly leaked data can be found in the older leaks, including the hashed credit card and sales order information for the tickets.

The group behind these attacks is ShinyHunters, which has been responsible for many data breaches over the years. These include leaking the data for 386 million user records from 18 companies in 2020, an AT&T breach impacting 70 million customers, and most recently, the leaking of 33 million phone numbers used with the Authy multi-factor authentication app.

Update: Ticketmaster has informed us that unique barcodes are updated every few seconds, so the stolen tickets cannot be used. “Ticketmaster’s SafeTix technology protects tickets by automatically refreshing a new and unique barcode every few seconds so it cannot be stolen or copied,” Ticketmaster told us. “This is just one of many fraud protections we implement to keep tickets safe and secure.” They also confirmed that they did not engage in any ransom negotiations with the threat actors, disputing ShinyHunter’s claims that they were offered $1 million to delete the data.

Protect Yourself and Stay Informed

This incident is just one example of how vulnerable our personal data can be in the digital age. To stay informed about cybersecurity threats and how to protect yourself, make sure to keep coming back to our IT Services page. Our team of experts is dedicated to helping you stay one step ahead of cybercriminals. Don’t let hackers ruin your concert experience or compromise your personal information. Stay informed and stay safe.

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Malware

Urgent: HealthEquity Data Breach Reveals Confidential Health Information

HealthEquity, a US health savings account provider, suffered a data breach exposing personal data of 23,000 users. The breach occurred when an employee fell for a phishing scam, allowing unauthorized access to an account containing protected health information. HealthEquity has since taken steps to improve security and offered assistance to affected customers.

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A Partner’s Compromised Account Leads to a Data Breach at HealthEquity

HealthEquity, a healthcare fintech firm, recently experienced a data breach when a partner’s account was compromised. The unauthorized access allowed hackers to steal protected health information from the company’s systems. We all know that data breaches can be a nightmare, especially when they involve sensitive information like our health records. So, let’s take a closer look at what happened and how HealthEquity is addressing the issue.

Anomalous Behavior Detected, Investigation Launched

HealthEquity first became aware of the situation when they noticed unusual behavior from a partner’s personal device. This prompted the company to launch an investigation into the incident. The investigation revealed that hackers had compromised the partner’s account and used it to gain unauthorized access to HealthEquity’s systems. The hackers then proceeded to extract sensitive health data.

As stated in their SEC filing, “The accessed information included some personally identifiable information, which in some cases is considered protected health information, pertaining to certain of our members.” The investigation also found that some of this information was later transferred off the partner’s systems.

What Does HealthEquity Do?

HealthEquity specializes in providing health savings account (HSA) services and other consumer-directed benefits solutions, such as flexible spending accounts (FSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), and 401(k) retirement plans. They are one of the largest HSA custodians in the United States, managing millions of HSA, FSA, HRA, and other benefit accounts while working with numerous employers and health plans.

Impact and Response

The exact number of people affected by this security incident has not been disclosed. However, HealthEquity has begun notifying impacted individuals. To help mitigate the risk for those exposed, the company has also promised to offer complimentary credit monitoring and identity restoration services.

Fortunately, HealthEquity’s internal investigation has not found any evidence of malware being dropped on its systems, and there have been no technical interruptions. All business operations and services remain fully available. The company is currently evaluating the incident’s impact and the cost of its response efforts but has noted that it does not believe the incident will have a material effect on its business or financial results.

Stay Informed and Protected

Data breaches like this one at HealthEquity remind us of the importance of staying informed and taking proactive steps to protect our personal information. Here at IT Services, we are dedicated to helping you stay up to date on cybersecurity news and tips. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have, and be sure to keep coming back to learn more about how to safeguard your digital life.

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