(The Hosting News) – A group of Russian hackers have successfully managed to steal over a billion user names and passwords from more than 400,000 websites, resulting in the largest data breach to date.
Wisconsin based security firm Hold Security discovered this data breach after seven months of research, revealing that over 4.5 billion records had been compromised, including more than 500 million email addresses and 1.2 billion user names and passwords, reports The New York Times.
“Hackers did not just target U.S. companies, they targeted any website they could get, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to very small websites,” said Hold Security chief information security officer, Alex Holden. “And most of these sites are still vulnerable.”
According to Holden, the cyber criminals do not appear to be working for the Russian government, noting that the government rarely pursues accused hackers.
So far the stolen information has not been sold on the black market, instead the data is being used by third parties to send spam on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
Hold Security has played a vital role in identifying some of the largest data breaches, including the Adobe and Target data breach that occurred late last year.