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techkenyot.com November 17, 2017


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

13 November 2017, 10:03 | Casey Mitchell

Google trying to prevent Phishing attacks

Google trying to prevent Phishing attacks

As part of a recent case study, Google teamed up with the University of California, Berkeley, to better understand how hijackers attempt to take over email and social networking accounts.

They analysed several black markets between March 2016 and March 2017 to see how hijackers steal passwords and other sensitive data. In terms of risk to users, however, Google says that data breaches fall far behind phishing, where a hacker pretends to be a person or company and directly asks for user data, and keylogging, which is a more direct attack that records users when they are typing.

"What we learned from the research proved to be immediately useful", two of the study's authors, Kurt Thomas and Angelika Moscicki, explained.

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That finding hits close to home.

In Google's services, it has been becoming less common to access an account using only a password.

While some phishing kits are basic, they serve an essential function; namely, they often lead users to believe there is a problem, and look just convincing enough to fool someone into sharing their password and other identifying information. This is because of the way phishing kits obtain information such as secret questions, device identifiers, geolocations, IP addressed, and phone numbers.

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"By ranking the relative risk to users, we found that phishing posed the greatest threat, followed by keyloggers, and finally third-party breaches", said Google. There was another 3.3 billion who were unknowingly exposed by third-party data breaches, claims the extensive report. It found that among the three MOs, phishing is the biggest threat which causes a threat to online security. However, one upside to the data collected is that most victims are only impacted once, as only two percent of those in the dataset were successfully phished a second time. For example, Safe Browsing, which now protects more than 3 billion devices, alerts users before they visit a unsafe site or when they click a link to a risky site within Gmail. A majority of the phishing victims reside in the United States, while the keylogging victims are mostly in Brazil and India.

The study was presented at the Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS) in Dallas, Texas and is now available in full from Research at Google. Google also recommends letting Chrome automatically generate passwords for your accounts, and to save them via Smart Lock.

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