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28-Jul-2015 16:55 by 8 Comments

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Sometimes it's to pass off old data as new data to make money, or to show off a hacker's prowess and proficiency.In reality, it just makes it harder to determine if a new list is genuine or not -- and it's beginning to show.

But after riding the wave of this year's "mega breaches," things began to unravel.But remarkably, it's now the sellers themselves who are taking center stage -- and they are said to be reaping the rewards as as a result.After a number conversations over the past three weeks, here's what we think we know.A Russian seller who goes by the name "Tessa88" claimed to have 103 million stolen accounts, according to an early March listing on a hacker's forum.The download itself had a smaller set of 73 million records -- a red flag for security reporter Brian Krebs, who first covered the story.Here's the spoiler alert: A company doesn't necessarily have to have its systems breached to fall victim to a "hack" -- at least in how it appears.

It's more likely that years of password reuse are coming back to bite millions on the behind -- because these shared lists of logins can be repackaged and sold on as a "verified" breach of another service.

Dropbox broke the chain as the next major hack that simply wasn't. Or have we saturated the market with so many usernames and passwords that reuse and repackaging existing hacks was almost inevitable?

And Twitter on Thursday was the latest to deny it had been hacked -- though Leaked Source, which analyzed the data, was clear to say it did not think Twitter had been hacked (despite a slew of headlines suggesting otherwise). With one list of credentials, it's easy to repackage a supposed "hack" as another breach -- simply by trading lists of one genuine batch of records.

Tessa88 is thought to have first emerged earlier this year -- it's not clear if she (her gender isn't known but refers to herself in many hacker forums as female) is part of a wider group, but is known to acquire breach data and sell them for bitcoin.

With links to the recent My Space and data breaches, she most recently made a name for herself by obtaining over 300 million Twitter logins.

It was easy to assume Dropbox had been hacked, but proving it would be difficult.