Authored by a Symantec employee

 

A group of hackers known as Team GhostShell, claims to have hacked a multitude of organizations, including financial institutions, government agencies, political groups, law enforcement entities, and universities. Using a Twitter account, these cybercriminals are dumping the data that was allegedly gathered from the data breaches, and posting links to the data dumps on Twitter. These data dumps include emails, user names, addresses, telephone numbers, Skype names, dates of birth, and other personally identifiable information. This is not the first time we have seen activity from this group, as back in 2012 they were in the spotlight for similar types of hacks. Symantec has been keeping an eye on this group since these events. It seems that the websites they are targeting now have no relation to each other, and this group is probably just targeting websites with security vulnerabilities.

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How does Team GhostShell’s activities affect my information?

Once cybercriminals get a hold of personal information, they can use it to try to access your accounts in many ways. Since this group is going after more information than just passwords, such as addresses, telephone numbers and dates of birth, criminals can use this data to try to guess your password via security questions. The fact that this group is posting the information to Twitter for all the world to see, means that other cybercriminals can get a hold of this sensitive data and use it for other crimes such as identity theft and more.

How do I stay safe?

  • If your passwords aren’t secure, change them. It was no surprise that the group found many instances of the classically weak “123456.”
  • Do not reuse passwords across multiple sites. If your banking password and Facebook password are the same, that just makes it all the easier for the cybercriminals to get into more of your accounts. Yes, it can be difficult to try to remember what password you use where, but password managers are going to be your new best friend.
  • Use two-factor authentication when available to add an extra layer of security to your account.
  • Being proactive can go a long way. Be sure that you are always monitoring current accounts, particularly bank accounts, for suspicious activity. If your bank allows for text and email alerts, sign up for them.

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