The latest research from Blueliv has found that the number of compromised credentials detected in North American botnets grew 141% from the last quarter.

The spike between the March to May and June to August quarters came alongside declines in other regions analyzed. Russia and Europe saw a 22% decrease and Asia saw a 36% decrease.

Credential theft is a booming market with threat actors across the globe. With access to these sensitive login credentials, hackers can cause extreme havoc throughout an organization.

The Credential Theft Ecosystem report explains that once a threat actor has infiltrated an organization using compromised credentials, they can access customer databases to collect PHI and/or sell user logins on the dark web for criminals to commit identity theft.

Credential-harvesting malware such as Pony, KeyBase and LokiPWS (also known as Loki Bot) were found to be the most popular, with Pony leading the charge, although LokiPWS samples increased 91% quarter-over-quarter.

Hackers are itching to get their hands on more credentials to sell on the dark web and as long as companies rely on credentials as the main form of authentication for employees and customers, hackers will continue to exploit this weakness. High profile breaches involving companies such as Target, Google, and Anthem have all involved the use of compromised credentials.  

Credential compromise can be mitigated mostly by following security best practices, but should attackers breach these forces, it's important that organizations have appropriate logging enabled in order to detect malicious usage of valid accounts.

In addition, organizations must enforce continuous compliance to ensure internal password policies are addressed and data exposure is limited in the event of a data breach. The use of real-time File Integrity Monitoring is also essential, as it will detect the second an attacker establishes themselves in your network.   

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