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Results of our compromised/hacked/stolen accounts survey

In Late September we posted a survey where we asked you to tell us your stolen account stories. We have summarized the results in a special report “the state of hacked accounts”

The data reveals that most users get hacked at high rates even when they do not think they are engaging in risky behavior, with 62% unaware of how their accounts had been compromised.

Other highlights from the research include: 

  • Less than one-third of users noticed their accounts had been compromised, with over 50% relying on friends to point out their stolen accounts.
  • 15% of users thought their credentials were stolen after they used a public Internet terminal or WiFi network.
  • One in eight hijacked accounts were used for a phony distress email scam that asks friends to wire funds to a foreign country, and over half of the accounts were used to send spam.

The report also provides tips for preventing accounts from being compromised. Interestingly, the Commtouch report was released at the same time as a somewhat related report commissioned by AP and MTV. The MTV report is focused on teens and young adults who have had people get into their Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or other Internet accounts and either impersonate or spy on them.

The full report on stolen accounts, as well as a brief presentation and nifty infographic, are available at:

The State of Hacked Accounts Report is a companion to Commtouch’s quarterly Internet Threats Trend Report, which covers Web threats, phishing, malware, and spam. The October trend report describes the explosion of email-borne malware in the third quarter of 2011 to the highest levels observed in over two years.

Additional data from the trend report:

  • Over 230 billion emails with attached malware were sent in the outbreaks of August and September. The malware included variants of Sasfis, SpyEye, Zeus, fake antivirus, and others.
  • Phony Facebook notifications lured users to malware, while large scale scams accumulated hundreds of thousands of Facebook Likes
  • Spam levels dropped to an average of 93 billion spam/phishing messages per day during Q3.
  • The most popular spam topic in Q3 was pharmacy ads, increasing to 29% of all spam from 24% in Q2.
  • India keeps its title as the country with the most zombies – 18% of all zombies worldwide.

More details, including samples and statistics, and a brief presentation summarizing the trend report are available at: