The Real Reason LinkedIn 2012 Hack Credentials Are On Sale

Surely everyone changed their LinkedIn credentials in 2012, when the LinkedIn hack was made public right?

Furthermore, most users would have doubled down on their credential security - changing their passwords to something complex and perhaps using a secure service like LastPass to manage those credentials securely, right?

LinkedIn confirmed last week that more than 100 million members' email and password combinations stemming from a 2012 data breach have been posted online.
LinkedIn confirmed last week that more than 100 million members' email and password combinations stemming from a 2012 data breach have been posted online.

So when LinkedIn confirmed last week that more than 100 million members' email and password combinations stemming from a 2012 data breach have been posted online, the natural question is 'why bother'?

As I pointed out to CNET this week, it's no longer the credentials themselves which have value (although there might be a few laggards who still haven't changed their passwords). It's the fact that cybercriminals now hone in on a target by building very accurate pictures of companies and employees ripe for targeting. Also, as I discussed with Computing in March, LinkedIn is now the principle super market for enterprise hacking intelligence - a front door for hackers.

Once the overall picture of an organization is complete, the email account of the target be it personal or professional becomes the Holy Grail for the attackers. Suddenly the penny drops…Peace, who according to a story from Vice's Motherboard is trying to sell the credentials for about $2,200 in bitcoin is actually selling the email addresses.

And I'm sure he or she will sell the information in no time at all - because who thought it was important to change their password and email address in 2012? Not many.

Aside from the immediate damage of social engineering-based attacks, the damage will really be felt by organizations who've been hacked over the last few years and are high-value targets in general. What this action has done is highlight the long-tail value of hacking - inspiring cybercriminals to re-harvest old hack data and inspire more audacious attacks in future as the financial incentive has been boosted further still.

FILED IN