Spotify is a Swedish-based audio streaming and media services provider, with over 299 million active monthly users in 2020.
Noam Rotem and Ran Locar, vpnMentor’s research team have discovered a potential credential stuffing operation whose origins are unknown, but that affected some online users who even have Spotify accounts. Credential stuffing is a hacking technique that takes advantage of weak passwords that consumers use and frequently reuse online.
An Insight of the Incident
The 72-gigabyte database of 380+ million individual records, and was hosted on an unsecured Elasticsearch server. The database records contained information about potential Spotify users, like their Personally Identifiable Information (PII) data and Spotify login credentials such as account usernames and passwords verified on Spotify, email addresses, and countries of residence. There were also several server IP addresses exposed within the leak.
A twist is that the database doesn’t belong to Spotify. The researchers, along with Spotify believe that the database was compiled by hackers possibly using login credentials stolen from other sources that were reused forcredential stuffing attacks against Spotify.
The process used here is known as Credential Stuffing. It involves hackers taking usernames and passwords stolen in one hack, then seeing if the credentials work on other sites moreover services provided that users often reuse passwords across multiple sites.
Spotify initiated a ‘rolling reset’ of passwords for all users affected. This implies the database would be voided and become useless in terms of accessing Spotify accounts.The affected users are still at risk of being hacked since the information in the database was likely stolen in another hack where users have reused credentials across multiple sites.
Potential Impacts of the Incident
The fraudsters can involve in the following activities:
Financial Fraud and Identity Theft- Make use of the exposed emails and names from the leak to identify users across other platforms and social media accounts.
Phishing Scams and Malware- Utilize the contact information to directly target the exposed users with phishing emails, tricking them into providing sensitive data like credit card details, or clicking a fake link embedded with malware.
Account Abuse- Could use the stolen credentials to access a user’s account and take advantage of digital services paid for by the original user
Instructions provided by the Experts
- If you reused your Spotify password on the other accounts, change it immediately to safeguard them from hacking
- Use a password generator to make unique, strong passwords for each private account
- Change the passwords periodically.