Cybercrime Ring Steals 1.2 Billion Internet Passwords

By CBS News

Published 08/05 2014 08:12PM

Updated 08/05 2014 08:22PM

CBSNews -- A Russian crime ring has stolen the largest known collection of username and password combinations ever, in a trend that is becoming the crime of the 21st century. CBS News looked into it.

Hackers targeted 420,000 Internet sites of companies large and small. According to Hold Security, the cybersecurity firm that uncovered the theft, more than 1.2 billion records were stolen. Usernames, password information as well as email addresses that Hold Security says could "used and abused for multiple services."

"It's like having keys to your house that fit in multiple doors," the company said.

The theft is believed to be the work of fewer than a dozen members of a Russian crime ring. Hold Security says it has been monitoring the group over the last seven months, but has yet to take the information to U.S. authorities.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.