Russian Hacker Offered 272 Million Unique Email Credentials for a Dollar

In what constitutes a major data breach comprising of hundreds of millions of email account credentials belonging to service providers like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, a security firm discovered one Russian hacker who was willing to sell over a billion records, for less than a dollar.

Security firm Hold Security has claimed that it has discovered some 272 million accounts, now ‘recovered’ as a part of a bigger haul of 1.17 billion records amassed by a Russian hacker over time.

Hold Security has been at the center in uncovering some of the biggest known data breaches in recent times including the infamous Adobe Systems breach, as well as the JPMorgan and Target breaches.

In a new blog post, the firm revealed how they communicate with hundreds of hackers to constantly monitor any new information due to recent breaches.

“We do not pay hackers for stolen data. If they have something new and valuable, we start our dance; ask, negotiate, finagle, anything permissible to get the data without rewarding the bad guys for their work,” Hold Security explained.

It is here when a Russian hacker claimed to have over 900 million credentials in one giant dump, which had even the skeptical researchers at Hold, intrigued.

After looking through samples, researchers concluded that the swarm of records is a collection of multiple breaches in which the hacker accumulated data over time.

What does the hacker want in return? 50 rubles. Or less than one US dollar.

A Dollar for One of the Largest Collections of Stolen Email Data

As mentioned above, Hold wasn’t going to pay anything to the hacker, even the relatively insignificant amount mentioned. Instead, the hacker sought fame and credibility and asked the security firm to like and vote his social media page. With that out of the way, the firm had 10GB of compressed data.

The initially discovered numbers show:

  • 917 million records.
  • 8 characters per credential on average.
  • 19 million unique credential pairs out of 80 million credentials starting with the letter “a”
  • Only 0.45% of the stash is new, or 1 out of 200 credentials.

With further communication and some extra voting on the hacker’s social media pages, more information was shared.

The numbers show:

  • An incredible 1.17 Billion stolen credentials.
  • 272 million unique credentials, a tremendous number of newly discovered stolen data.

As revealed by Reuters, who spoke to Hold Security founder and CISO Alex Holden:

  • 40 million or 15 percent of the 272 million unique IDs discovered belonged to Yahoo Mail.
  • 33 million or 12 percent were Microsoft Hotmail accounts.
  • 24 million or 9 percent were Gmail accounts.

Hold Security has already communicated the breach to organizations affected by it, an ongoing process which began 10 days ago.

If you have a Gmail, Yahoo or Microsoft email account, it’s time to change your password!

Hacked has reached out to Google, Yahoo and Microsoft for comment.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Samburaj is the contributing editor at Hacked and keeps tabs on science, technology and cyber security.