LONDON, June 16, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – The new NordLocker study in partnership with third-party researchers, analyzed statistical data collected from 3.25 million Windows computers around the world infected with a malicious Trojan. The newly discovered database hosts 1.2TB of stolen information, including billions of personal records like passwords, cookies, and files, dating back to 2018-2020.
“This Trojan is just the tip of the iceberg, as unaware users are exposed to thousands of types of malware every day,” says Oliver Noble, cybersecurity expert at NordLocker. “Our case study delves into malware to illustrate how bad actors work and the damage computer viruses can actually cause.”
The anonymous malware, which was transmitted via email attachments and illegal software, managed to steal around 26 million credentials from around 1 million different websites. The most affected services were Facebook (1.47 million credentials stolen) and Google (1.54 million).
“Stolen credentials, meaning a username or an email with a password, can wreak havoc not only on your social networks. Imagine that hackers got hold of your private e-mail, financial services and even online shopping accounts, which usually contain your credit card details, ”warns Oliver Noble.
Among the staggering amount of stolen data, NordLocker analysts found over 2 billion cookies, 22% of which were valid on the day of discovery. The majority of stolen cookies come from YouTube (17.1 million stolen cookies), Facebook (8 million), AliExpress (4.8 million) and Steam (2 million).
Cookies are essential for some websites to function, but they can also help hackers build a fairly accurate picture of a website visitor, including their location, browsing history, habits, and interests. If a cookie is hacked, a cybercriminal can impersonate a victim and even gain unauthorized access to their online accounts.
The malware stole more than 6.6 million files that affected users stored on their desktops and in the Downloads folder. Of these files, 50% are text files, while over 16% are image files like .png and .jpg, and about 10.5% of all stolen files are of type .doc, .docx and .pdf .
“We have found that some people still store confidential documents, photocopies of passports and even passwords written in Notepad on their desk, risking exposure of their most sensitive data,” says the expert. in cybersecurity NordLocker.
What is malware and how can users protect themselves against it?
Malware, or malware, is harmful program designed by hackers to damage or gain access to a device and exploit its contents. Malware is usually lurking in email attachments and illegal or pirated software.
“For every malware recognized and covered worldwide, there are thousands of smaller, but very effective, custom viruses. These are unnamed pieces of malicious code that are compiled and sold on online forums and in private chats for as little as $ 100, ”says Oliver Noble. “Our malware case study shows only a small portion of the information malware steals every day. Therefore, users should remain vigilant and take precautions to protect their personal computers and everything on them. ”
- Learn how to identify phishing emails. Do not download suspicious attachments or click on fraudulent links in an email. Always check the sender and content before clicking anything inside.
- Use a password manager to help you generate complex and unique passwords and store them in a secure vault.
- Download software only from trusted sources. Malware is often distributed through illegal programs, so be sure to only use legal software that you have acquired from official brands and websites.
- Encrypt sensitive files stored on your computer and in the cloud. There are easy to use file encryption tools like NordLocker that turn your information into indecipherable codes that even skilled hackers cannot read without your permission.
- Store your files in an encrypted cloud. In many cases, an end-to-end encrypted cloud is the ultimate security tool. It protects your data from malware and provides backup in the event of loss or if your system is infected with ransomware.
Note: NordLocker reported the results to US-CERT and the cloud storage provider, which deleted the open database.
NordLocker is the world’s first end-to-end file encryption tool with a private cloud. It was created by the cybersecurity experts at NordVPN, one of the world’s most advanced VPN service providers. NordLocker is available for Windows and macOS, supports all file types, offers a fast and intuitive interface and ensures secure synchronization between devices. With NordLocker, files are protected against hacking, surveillance and data collection. For more information: nordlocker.com.