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Last week, LifeLock and several added character annexation aegis firms afield alerted their barter to a aperture at billow accumulator behemothic Dropbox.com — an adventure that reportedly apparent some 73 amateur usernames and passwords. The alone botheration with that notification was that Dropbox didn’t accept a breach; the abstracts appears instead to accept appear from addition aperture appear this anniversary at amusing arrangement Tumblr.

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Today’s column examines some of the missteps that preceded this awkward and potentially brand-damaging “oops.” We’ll additionally analyze the banned of automatic blackmail intelligence acquisition in an era of megabreaches like the ones appear over the accomplished anniversary that apparent added than a bisected billion usernames and passwords baseborn from Tumblr, MySpace and LinkedIn.

The accreditation leaked in affiliation with breaches at those amusing networking sites were baseborn years ago, but the abounding admeasurement of the intrusions alone became clear recently — aback several huge athenaeum of email addresses and hashed passwords from anniversary annual were acquaint to the aphotic web and to file-sharing sites.

Last week, a clairvoyant referred me to a column by a guy alleged Andrew on the dropbox.com advice forum. Andrew said he’d just accustomed alerts accursed out by two altered acclaim ecology firms that his dropbox accreditation had been compromised and were begin online (see screenshot below).

A user on the dropbox appointment complains of accepting alerts from abstracted companies admonishing of a huge countersign aperture at dropbox.com.

Here’s what LifeLock beatific out on May 23, 2016 to abounding barter who pay for the company’s credential accretion services:

Alert Date: 05-23-2016Alert Type: MonitoringAlert Category: Internet-Black Market Website**Member has accustomed a Book Administration Arrangement active Email: *****Password: ****************************************Where your abstracts was found: amusing mediaType of Compromise: breachBreached Sector: businessBreached Site: www.dropbox.comBreached Record Count: 73361477Password Status: hashedSeverity: red|email,passwordSite: www.dropbox.com

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LifeLock said it got the active abstracts via an advice administration acceding with a third affair blackmail intelligence service, but it beneath to name the annual that beatific the apocryphal absolute alert.

“We can affirm that we afresh notified a baby articulation of LifeLock associates that a adaptation of their dropbox.com accreditation were detected on the internet,” LifeLock said in a accounting annual provided to KrebsOnSecurity. “When we are notified about this blazon of advice from a partner, it is usually a “list” that is actuality accustomed away, traded or awash on the aphotic web. The assurance and aegis of our members’ abstracts is our accomplished priority. We are continuing to adviser for any action aural our antecedent network. At this time, we acclaim that these LifeLock associates change their Dropbox password(s) as a basal measure.”

Dropbox says it didn’t accept a breach, and if it had the aggregation would be seeing huge amounts of annual blockage action and added oddities activity on appropriate now. And that’s aloof not happening, they say.

“We accept abstruse that LifeLock and MyIdCare.com are advertisement that Dropbox annual capacity of some of their barter are potentially compromised,” said Patrick Heim, arch of assurance and aegis at Dropbox. “An antecedent analysis into these letters has begin no affirmation of Dropbox accounts actuality impacted. We’re continuing to look into this affair and will amend our users if we acquisition affirmation that Dropbox accounts accept been impacted.”

After some digging, I abstruse that the bogus allegation of the Tumblr aperture to Dropbox came from CSID, an character ecology close that is in the bosom of actuality acquired by acclaim agency behemothic Experian.

Fascinated by annihilation accompanying to aegis and apocryphal positives, I phoned Bryan Hjelm, carnality admiral of artefact and business for CSID. Hjelm took affair with my classifying this as a blackmail intel apocryphal positive, aback from CSID’s angle the afflicted alone barter were in actuality alerted that their accreditation were compromised (just not their Dropbox credentials).

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“Our authorization is to active our applicant subscribers aback we acquisition their advice on the darkweb,” Hjelm said. “Regardless of the source, this is compromised abstracts that belongs to them.”

Hjelm accustomed that CSID was “experiencing some reputational concerns” from Dropbox and others as a aftereffect of its aperture mis-attribution, but he said the adventure was the aboriginal time this affectionate of snafu has occurred for CSID.

I capital to apperceive absolutely how this could accept happened, so I asked Hjelm to call what transpired in added detail. He told me that CSID relies on a cardinal of sources online who accept been accurate, aboriginal indicators of breaches past. One such amateur — a array of cyber gadfly best accepted by his hacker alias “w0rm” — had authentic actual in antecedent posts on Twitter about new abstracts breaches, Hjelm said.

In this case, w0rm acquaint to Twitter a articulation to download a book absolute what he claimed were 100M annal baseborn from Dropbox. Perhaps one aboriginal assurance that article didn’t absolutely add up is that the download he affiliated to as the Dropbox user book absolutely alone included 73 million usernames and passwords.

In any case, CSID analysts couldn’t actuate one way or the added whether it absolutely was Dropbox’s data. Nonetheless, they beatific it out as such anyway, based on little added than w0rm’s say-so.

w0rm’s advertisement of the claimed dropbox credentials.

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Hjelm said his analysts never analysis the authority of baseborn accreditation they’re agriculture from the aphotic web (i.e. they don’t try to log in application those accreditation to see if they’re valid). But he said CSID may booty accomplish such as attempting to able some of the hashed passwords to see whether a advantage of them point to a assertive online merchant or amusing network.

In the LinkedIn aperture involving added than 100 amateur baseborn usernames and passwords, for example, board were able to connect a bulk of hashed passwords acquaint on a countersign arise form to LinkedIn because a ample cardinal of users in the hashed countersign annual had a countersign with some anatomy of “linkedin” in it.

I asked CSID whether its advisers took the basal footfall of attempting to annals accounts at the doubtable breached annual application the email addresses included in the declared user abstracts dump. As I discussed in the column How to Acquaint Abstracts Leaks from Publicity Stunts, best online casework do not acquiesce two altered user accounts to accept the above email address, so attempting to assurance up for an annual application an email abode in the claimed aperture abstracts is an able way to analysis aperture claims. If a ample cardinal of email addresses in the claimed aperture annual do not already accept accounts associated with them at the allegedly breached Web site, the affirmation is about absolutely bogus.

Hjelm said CSID doesn’t currently use this rather chiral technique, but that the aggregation is accessible to suggestions about how to advance the accurateness of their aperture victim attribution. He said CSID alone started accouterment attribution information about a year ago because audience were ambitious it.

Allison Nixon, a cybercrime researcher and administrator of aegis analysis at aphotic web ecology close Flashpoint, was the alpha of that above adventure about abstracts leaks vs. publicity stunts. She’s done added analysis than anyone I apperceive to date on means to bound acquaint whether a claimed aperture is real, and how to antecedent it. Nixon said automating blackmail intel alone goes so far.

“In general, the accomplishment of animal skepticism performed today by blackmail intelligence experts is acutely difficult to automate,” Nixon said. “Even with advancements in cerebral and bogus intelligence technologies, bodies will still and consistently be bare to validate the nuances associated with authentic intelligence. Aegis experts charge be carefully complex in the actuality blockage action of blackmail intelligence, or otherwise, will run the accident of accident admired time, assets and possibly alike more, by acceptance apocryphal advice perceived as authentic by automatic technologies.”

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Flashpoint begin afterpiece assay of the book that w0rm leaked maps aback to a 2013 recycled aperture at Tumblr.

There is no catechism w0rm has a history of administration absolute dumps. But according to Flashpoint that acceptability charge be taken with a atom of alkali because alike admitting the depression are real, they are usually about accessible yet are portrayed by w0rm as affirmation of his hacking proficiency.

In short: The advised victim of guys like w0rm is allegedly added cybercriminals, but blackmail intel companies can get bent up in this as well.

Many readers accept asked me to counterbalance in on letters of a accessible aperture at Teamviewer, a annual that lets users allotment their desktops, audio babble and added applications with accompany and contacts online. Teamviewer has so far denied experiencing a breach.

My assumption is that a ample cardinal of Teamviewer users either re-used passwords at some of the amusing networking casework whose usernames and hashed passwords were acquaint online this week, or they are Teamviewer users who abominably were bent up in the circadian agitate of systems compromised through added malware. In any case, there is a diffuse cilia on Reddit busy by Teamviewer users who mostly affirmation they didn’t re-use their Teamviewer countersign anywhere else.

It’s absorbing to agenda that aboriginal versions of alien admission Trojans like Zeus contained a Teamviewer-like basic alleged “backconnect” that let the attackers use the systems abundant like Teamviewer enables its users. These days, however, cybercriminals generally abandon that acquaintance backconnect affection and await instead on either accouterment the victim with a Teamviewer annual and/or hijacking the victim’s absolute Teamviewer annual credentials, and again exfiltrating baseborn accreditation and added abstracts through a Teamviewer installation. Hence, a accommodation of one’s Teamviewer annual may announce that the victim’s arrangement already is compromised by adult Windows-based malware.

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For its part, Dropbox is application this befalling to animate users to beef up the aegis of their accounts. According to Dropbox’s Patrick Heim, beneath than one percent of the Dropbox user abject is demography advantage of the company’s two-factor affidavit feature, which makes it abundant harder for thieves and added ne’er-do-wells to use baseborn passwords.

“In affairs of security, we consistently advance users booty an affluence of attention and displace their passwords if they accept any notification of a abeyant compromise,” Heim said. “Dropbox acerb encourages individuals use able and different passwords for anniversary service.  We additionally animate Dropbox users to accredit two-factor affidavit to added assure their account.”

I achievement it goes after adage that re-using passwords beyond assorted sites that may authority claimed advice about you is an acutely bad idea. If you’re accusable of this allegedly accepted practice, amuse change that. If you charge some afflatus on this front, analysis out this post.

Tags: Allison Nixon, Bryan Hjelm, Dropbox, LinkedIn breach, MySpace breach, Patrick Heim, Tumblr breach, w0rm

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