A malicious trojan (opens in new tab) that want unreported has managed to steal 1.2TB of personal data including passwords, cookies and files from unsuspecting users online.
Security experts from NordLocker (opens in new tab) along with third-party researchers analyzed statistical data from 3.25m computers running Windows 10 (opens in new tab) that were infected to compile a new study (opens in new tab) on the unreported trojan and the malware behind it.
The 1.2TB of data stolen from the trojan was discovered in a database that includes billions of personal records and dates back to 2018-2020. To distribute their malware (opens in new tab), cybercriminals uses malicious email attachments and illegal software.
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The malware was successfully able to steal 26m credentials from around 1m different websites. It stole credentials from social media sites (opens in new tab) including Facebook (1.5m), Twitter (261k), and Instagram (153k), email service providers (opens in new tab) including Google (1.5m), Outlook (403k) and Yahoo (224m) as well as streaming services (opens in new tab) including Netflix (170k), Twitch (106k) and Spotify (61k).
Stolen cookies, files and data
Among the 1.2TB of data, NordLocker's analysts found more than 2bn cookies and surprisingly, 22 percent of them were valid on the day of the discovery. The majority of these stolen cookies (opens in new tab) came AliExpress (4.8m), Steam (2m), MediaFire (3.2m), Facebook (8m) and YouTube (17.1m).
In addition to helping some websites operate, cookies can also be used by cybercriminals to create a fairly accurate picture of a website visitor including their location, browsing history, habits and interests. Stolen cookies can then be used to impersonate a victim and even potentially to gain access to their online accounts.
The malware also stole over 6.6m files stored on the desktops and Downloads folders of victims including text files, image files and other documents. Cybersecurity expert at NordLocker, Oliver Noble explained how consumers are getting smarter when it comes to protecting themselves online though there is still work to be done, saying:
“On average, the malware stole only 2 files from each computer. This indicates that users are getting smarter and more security-focused, which means they keep important information in the cloud or somewhere else to conceal it from prying eyes. However, we also found that some people still store confidential documents, photocopies of passports, and even passwords written down in Notepad on their desktop, thus risking the exposure of their most sensitive data.”
In order to avoid falling victim to this trojan and other malware like it, users should install antivirus software (opens in new tab) on their Windows machines, use malware removal software (opens in new tab) to deal with viruses, keep a backup of their most important files in their cloud storage (opens in new tab) and avoid opening attachments from unknown senders as well as illegally downloading software online.
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