- Man delighted to find 30-year-old computer still works Sunday 5:32 PM
- Report: Google used shell companies to build data centers, obtain tax breaks Sunday 3:38 PM
- Grammy winner Kacey Musgraves spoiled ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 4’ Sunday 2:24 PM
- Conservatives feel vindicated by new developments in Jussie Smollett case (updated) Sunday 12:19 PM
- Don Cheadle made important fashion choices on ‘SNL’ Sunday 9:47 AM
- Why the Twitter left loves to dunk on Max Boot Sunday 6:30 AM
- How to watch ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’ online for free Sunday 6:30 AM
- How to stream Francis Ngannou vs. Cain Velasquez for free Sunday 6:00 AM
- How to stream the 2019 Daytona 500 for free Sunday 5:50 AM
- 7-year-old YouTuber to get his own show on Nickelodeon Saturday 5:30 PM
- ‘Hipster’ jobs are trending, and Indeed says the market is booming Saturday 3:33 PM
- Trump meme removed after copyright complaint Saturday 2:15 PM
- Facebook pushes back against moderators complaining about ‘Big Brother’ environment Saturday 12:46 PM
- Twitter hid post from an account linked to Iran’s Supreme Leader Saturday 10:17 AM
- How to stream Leo Santa Cruz vs. Rafael Rivera for free Saturday 8:00 AM
711 million emails leaked by spambot: Here’s how to check if you’re vulnerable
It’s time to change your password again.
Troy Hunt, head of “Have I Been Pwned” (HIBP), a site that’ll show you if your email or username has been exposed by a security breach, says it’s the “largest single set of data” he has ever added to the service. “Just for a sense of scale, that’s almost one address for every single man, woman, and child in all of Europe,” Hunt wrote in a blog post.
— Benkow moʞuƎq (@benkow_) August 29, 2017
The spambot, or program designed to harvest email addresses so it can send them spam, is dubbed “Onliner.” It was discovered thanks to a poorly configured web server that accidentally leaked its own mailing list.
“The sheer size of the breach is alone a cause for concern, let alone the damage it could cause further down the line,” Brian Laing, VP of products and business development at cybersecurity company Lastline, told the Daily Dot in an email. “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 in the latest security breach appear to have been collated from previous leaks, including the 2012 LinkedIn data breach.”
Because it uses leaked email addresses, the spambot can bypass spam filters and go right into someone’s main inbox, tricking them into opening a malicious attachment. According to Benkow, 80 million of the 711 million accounts are being used as senders to target the remaining 631 million. First, the hacker sends a “fingerprinting email,” which contains a hidden pixel-sized image. When opened, the email transmits device information back to the hacker who targets Windows machines (iPhone, Mac, and Android users are safe) with a follow-up email containing malware.
The emails have been disguised as invoices from government agencies, hotel reservation details, and DHL shipping notifications. So far, more than 100,000 people have been infected around the world, Benkow told ZDNet. Those infected feel the force of Ursnif, a trojan malware that steals personal information, including usernames, passwords, and credit card info.
You can check if your email address has been breached using Hunt’s HIBP website (it probably has). Just load up the page and put your email addresses and usernames in the search bar, take a deep breath, and press “pwned?”
As long as you don’t reuse passwords and are careful about opening email attachments, you shouldn’t worry about getting your personal data stolen.
Phillip Tracy is a former technology staff writer at the Daily Dot. He's an expert on smartphones, social media trends, and gadgets. He previously reported on IoT and telecom for RCR Wireless News and contributed to NewBay Media magazine. He now writes for Laptop magazine.