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Reports US

US stock market daily report (February 28, 2014, Friday)

March 3, 2014, Monday, 06:14 GMT | 01:14 EST | 10:44 IST | 13:14 SGT
Contributed by Millennium Traders

Hold Security, LLC released a shocking report this week that they uncovered stolen credentials from nearly 360 million accounts and nearly 1.25 billion records containing email addresses only, that are on the block for sale on cyber black markets. The findings do not include source of origination but does bring about a call for further action. The cyber security firms chief information security officer Alex Holden reportedly said that he believes the information was stolen in breaches that affected companies have not yet reported. Holden said, 'We have staff working around the clock to identify victims." The security firm obtained the data over the past three weeks, meaning an unprecedented amount of stolen credentials is available for sale, in the underground black market. Holden said, "The sheer volume is overwhelming." He said that the massive trove of credentials includes user names, which are typically email addresses as well as passwords which in most cases, are in unencrypted text.

While Holden said he has not provided any information about the attacks to other cybersecurity firms or authorities, he intends to alert the companies affected if his staff can identify them. His belief is that many of the breaches have not yet been made public. Many of the companies involved will only know they are a victim, when notified by third parties of findings of the hack attack.

Holden said he believes the 360 million records were obtained during separate cyber attacks, including one attack that yielded nearly 105 million records, making it the largest single credential breach known to date. The email addresses are from major providers such as AOL Inc. (AOL-NYSE), Google Inc. (GOOG-Nasdaq), Microsoft Corporation (MSFT-Nasdaq) and Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO-Nasdaq).

The discovery of the breach could present a higher risk to consumers and companies since the chance of user names and passwords accessing multiple accounts such as online bank accounts or business accounts since many consumers may utilize the same set of user names and passwords to access a variety of accounts.

In a statement on Hold Security website, over 1.25 billion stolen email addresses are for sale on the black market, which would be of interest to spammers.

A suggestion to help protect confidential login information, change passwords frequently, don't use the same password for more than one online account and be creative with password selection with a combination of upper case, lower case, numbers and characters. The time it takes to change passwords will be minute compared to the amount of time consumers have in trying to deal with a breach, of their secured information, used online.