Web Forums, Social Media Targets for Credentials

Web forums were the greatest targets for credential spills during 2017, which saw more than 2.3 billion credentials from 51 different organizations reportedly stolen, according to a new report from Shape Security. Of those 51 different organizations, companies providing online services contributed the largest number of compromised credentials, with over 2 billion credential spills. In total, the criminal enterprise is costing US businesses over $5bn a year. The report, released today, studied the life cycle of stolen credentials, taking a holistic, behind-the-scenes look at the extent to which credentials can be monetized and weaponized long after a breach occurs. Because web forums serve as hyper-specialized communities of online users, they tend to have lower membership and thus a smaller collection of credentials. “However, they are easy targets for credential spills because many are volunteer-run and lack a corporate security or IT function," the report stated. While web forums were found to be the most frequently targeted, they are not actually the source of the greatest number of spills. “Social media sites were typically responsible for the largest spills. This makes sense because those organizations rely on a network effect to succeed, so they are likely to have the largest user bases,” the report said.

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