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Security alert from Google: one million account credentials are stolen every month

14 November 2017

"Finally, we regularly scan activity across Google's suite of products for suspicious actions performed by hijackers and when we find any, we lock down the affected accounts to prevent any further damage as quickly as possible", the company added.

Third-party breaches exposed 3.3 billion credentials, while keyloggers and phishing were responsible for stealing 788,000 and 12 million credentials respectively.

To carry out the study, Google partnered up with the University of California, Berkeley, analyzing the online black market from March 2016 to March 2017.

The largest number of stolen logins that Google found for sale on black markets totalled 3.3 billion and came from third-party data breaches. Around 234,000 valid names and passwords are obtained through phishing every week, whereas keyloggers yielded about 15,000 valid credentials each week.

In short, the threats online can be summed up to three MOs: keylogging, third-party breaches, and phishing, which has been discovered to be the biggest threat among the three.

"Our research tracked several black markets that traded third-party password breaches, as well as 25,000 blackhat tools used for phishing and keylogging", said Google.

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This study was demonstrated at the Conference on Computer and Communications Security or CCS, and it has been published on Google's Research website. They're using tools that also attempt to work out targets' phone numbers, IP addresses, device types and locations, in case a password isn't enough to successfully hijack an account. For stronger security, there's also the company's Advanced Protection program that consists of three core defenses, including but not limited to Security Keys.

There are many way in which hackers break into your Gmail accounts.

While the study focused on Google accounts, the company warned that these hijacking tactics pose a risk to accounts across all other online platforms too. However, the company is taking serious actions and assimilating the safety measures to keep away unauthorized strangers from entering into your users' accounts.

The results of the research which Google in its blog post claimed to be "immediately useful", reveal that hacks mainly use two tools to get access (and eventually take over) accounts.

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Security alert from Google: one million account credentials are stolen every month