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Report: Russian hackers steal 1.2B passwords

NEW YORK (AP) - Russian hackers have stolen 1.2 billion user names and passwords in a series of Internet heists affecting 420,000 websites, according to a report published Tuesday.

The thievery was described in a New York Times story based on the findings of Hold Security, a Milwaukee firm that has a history of uncovering online security breaches.

Hold Security didn't immediately respond to inquiries from The Associated Press.

The identities of the websites that were broken into weren't identified by the Times, which cited nondisclosure agreements that required Hold Security to keep some information confidential.

The reported break-ins are the latest incidents to raise doubts about the security measures that both big and small companies use to protect people's information online.

Security experts believe hackers will continue breaking into computer networks unless companies become more vigilant.

"Companies that rely on usernames and passwords have to develop a sense of urgency about changing this," Avivah Litan, a security analyst at the research firm Gartner told the Times.

Retailer Target Corp. is still struggling to win back its shoppers' trust after hackers believed to be attacking from Eastern Europe stole 40 million credit card numbers and 70 million addresses, phone numbers and other personal information last winter.

Russian Hackers Steal 1.2 Billion Usernames and Passwords

Alex Holden, the founder and chief information security officer of Hold Security, told the Times that most of the sites hit by the Russian hackers are still vulnerable to further break-ins. Besides filching 1.2 billion online passwords, the hackers also have amassed 500 million email addresses that could help them engineer other crimes, according to Hold Security.

So, far little of the information stolen in the wave of attacks appears to have been sold to other online crooks, according to the Times. Instead, the information is being used to send marketing pitches, schemes and other junk messages on social networks on Twitter, the newspaper said.

The breadth of these break-ins should serve as a chilling reminder of the skullduggery that has been going undetected on the Internet for years, said John Prisco, CEO of another security firm, Triumfant.

"This issue reminds me of an iceberg, where 90 percent of it is actually underwater," Prisco said in an emailed statement. "That's what is going on here... So many cyber breaches today are not actually reported, often times because companies are losing information and they are not even aware of it."

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buddwhyzr August 05 2014 at 10:19 PM

Hacking passwords, shooting down airliners, taking over Croatia.....I mean, Do the f'n Russians do ANYTHING constructive?

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6 replies
quincy_maxwell August 05 2014 at 9:06 PM

Would be nice if the would say what kind of websites....I think we have a right to know that much. However, I would hope too, that if one is a member or has to join these sites, they would be kind enough to let us know there was a security breach.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
twooheight August 05 2014 at 10:11 PM

I say when the hackers are caught they are executed. What they are doing is nothing less than terrorism.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
1 reply
smashingmonkey twooheight August 06 2014 at 12:03 PM

Given how loosely we use the term "terrorist" these days, . . . why not?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
jewel August 05 2014 at 9:18 PM

obama gave them the---ok...

Flag Reply +5 rate up
4 replies
John August 05 2014 at 10:47 PM

Shop locally and not online. Only use cash to pay for purchases. Disable online banking. Let the other guys get ripped off.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
3 replies
vladswim August 05 2014 at 10:36 PM

Russians and Chinese are some of the best hackers

Flag Reply +5 rate up
1 reply
Jim vladswim August 06 2014 at 11:28 AM

They're not the best, its all they do so the time they spend trying to steal increases their success rate. This makes them look good.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
mark and sheri August 06 2014 at 2:27 AM

Unless you do a lot of banking, financial actions on the web, all they will get is your porn collection. Have fun wading through that, IVAN!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
vincentpricehowell August 05 2014 at 9:52 PM

Russian hackers! Does that ring a bell? Mr. Snowden at work. I'll tell you, the old CIA would have assassinated that bastard, in the old days. He would have never got out of Hong Kong

Flag Reply +4 rate up
4 replies
savvywire August 06 2014 at 11:57 AM

Wull .. looks like the "agencies" of the Obuma "govermint' are all "out to lunch" as he is playing golf, fundraising at ritzy event, having coffee and bar meets as "photo ops." So .. National Security is an exception? Look at the respect of the International Community for the US today and its "world leader?"

Flag Reply +2 rate up
plitigator August 06 2014 at 12:15 PM

why print this half ass story!!!!! Can we have all the details??? What 420,000 websites?????????????

Flag Reply +2 rate up
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