Story image

Mega users affected by credential stuffing attack; 15,000 affected

19 Jul 18

The dangers of using the same usernames and passwords across multiple websites have become painfully clear for around 15,000 people this week, after a security researcher exposed a data breach that has caught users of file sharing website Mega.

The New Zealand-based website, which used to be managed by mogul Kim Dotcom, launched in 2013.

According to reports, the breach compromised Mega customers’ usernames, passwords, and filenames.

Mega confirmed these details, although Mega chairman Stephen Hall says Mega’s systems were not breached.

Instead, he says the problem lies in ‘credential stuffing’, which is when cybercriminals reuse login details from other data breaches against multiple websites. Often credential stuffing uses bots that carry out the stuffing attacks.

In this case it appears that the 15,500 users affected by this breach may have used the same username and password across many sites that have been hacked.

The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) further states that credential stuffing “is the automated injection of breached username/password pairs in order to fraudulently gain access to user accounts.”

“This is a subset of the brute force attack category: large numbers of spilled credentials are automatically entered into websites until they are potentially matched to an existing account, which the attacker can then hijack for their own purposes.”

According to statistics from Akamai, credential stuffing attacks cost businesses an average of $6 million every year.

Centrify’s senior director APAC sales, Niall King, says the exposure of users’ Mega login credentials demonstrates the problem of relying on passwords alone.

“What minimal protective value passwords offer is often undermined by the poor security habits of too many users,” he says.

“People use easily guessed passwords - Time Magazine reported the most popular password of 2017 was 123456 - and have the dreadful tendency to re-use passwords across multiple websites, which make them vulnerable to credential stuffing, as appears to be the case with these Mega logins.”

King says password alternatives and multi-factor authentication can add extra protection.

“This might be a code sent to your smartphone or a biometric identifier such as a thumbprint, but it requires a second step to prove your identity. If multi-factor authentication is required for your logins, then the exposure of your password does not present any significant risk.”

Commerce Commission report shows fibre is hot on the heels of copper
The report shows that as of 30 September 2018 there were 668,850 households and businesses connected to fibre, an increase of 45% from 2017.
Mac malware on WatchGuard’s top ten list for first time
The report is based on data from active WatchGuard Firebox unified threat management appliances and covers the major malware campaigns.
Big Bash Boom gives us cricket with power-ups
From the moment you hit play, you know that Big Bash Boom isn’t your usual cricket game. 
Bin 'em: Those bomb threat emails are complete hoaxes
A worldwide spate of spam emails claiming there is a bomb in the recipient’s building is almost certainly a hoax.
The tech that helped the first woman to sail around Australia
Lisa Blair used devices from supplied by Pivotel to aid her in becoming the first woman to circumnavigate Australia non-stop.
Marriott sets up call centres to answer questions on data breach
Marriott has released an update on the breach of the Starwood guest reservation data breach which affected 500 million guests.
How to stay safe when shopping online
Online shopping is a great way to avoid the crowds – but there are risks.
Hands-on review: The Logitech R500 laser presentation remote
With a clever ergonomic design, you’ll never have to glance at the device, unless you deliberately look to use the built-in laser pointer to emphasise your presentation.