Russian Hackers Steal Over a Billion Personal Information

November 8, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. credential /krɪˈdɛn ʃəl/ (n.) – information that proves a person’s identification
ExampleHe needs his computer credentials so he can log in.

2. accumulate /əˈkyu myəˌleɪt/ (v.) – to collect
Example: Using the new equipment helps us accumulate enough data for the analysis.

3. database /ˈdeɪtəˌbeɪs/ (n.) – a large collection of organized data or information
Example: The technicians are having problems accessing the employee information in the database.

4. black market /ˈblæk ˈmɑɚkət/ (n.) – a system or place where illegal transactions happen
Example: Many operators in the black market were arrested by the authorities.

5. significant /sɪgˈnɪf ɪ kənt/ (adj.) – important or worthy of attention
Example: The news about the stealing of personal information caused a significant decline in the company’s sale.


Read the text below.
Russian hackers made the largest security breach by stealing 1.2 billion Internet credentials worldwide.

According to Hold Security, a company specializing in information security services, a group of hackers labeled as CyberVor accumulated confidential usernames and passwords from 420,000 websites across the Internet. The company coined the group’s name using the Russian word vor, meaning “thief.”

On its website, Hold Security said that any personal data, though not directly obtained from the owners, stored on the World Wide Web may be affected. All of the information the hackers have stolen might have been taken from the sites of service and goods providers, companies, and even from loved ones.

The US-based security firm believes that CyberVor gained access to databases of stolen information from other hackers in the black market by installing malware in the victims’ computers to acquire access to many personal accounts and websites.

The investigators also stated that the hackers focused mainly on stealing credentials, which led to the extensive storage of illegally collected information. This amounts to more than a billion unique sets of emails and passwords.

Hold Security further said that the hackers did not specifically target large and popular companies. They aimed at every single site their victims visited. This affected a significant number of leading organizations in almost all industries around the world.

The New York Times reported that the hackers are based in south central Russia, situated near Kazakhstan and Mongolia. Times added that men in their 20s who can do programming and steal data are involved in the group.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What can be the reasons why hackers like CyberVor steal others’ personal information?
·         What do you think should be done to this group once their identities are discovered?

Discussion B

·         What could be the harmful effects of having one’s accounts hacked? Kindly discuss with your tutor.
·         How can people be safe from hackers? Please explain.

November 8, 2014