If you have had online credentials stolen, had your personal information compromised in a data breach or simply just like to see the bad guys get their comeuppance, now is a good time to make sure your Chrome browser is up-to-date. In all honesty, it’s a good idea to keep Chrome updated but the recent release of version 80 of Google’s browser to a big step in thwarting a major criminal website’s method of stealing user’s credentials.
Genesis Marketplace has quickly become the leading dark web site where malicious hackers and other unsavory types go to purchased stolen credentials. Where Genesis differs from many sites of this type is that they steal more than just usernames and passwords from your browser. Along with credentials, Genesis sells digital “fingerprints” taken when users log in and that can include personal data, OS information and various other virtual images passed to and from said website.
Genesis obtains this information mainly with the AZORult Malware. Whether directly or from third-party hackers, the constant flow of stolen credentials led Genesis to sell tens of thousands of compromised “fingerprints” a month in 2019. The sold information is then used by hackers to commit any range of online fraud that they can dream up. As frightening as this may sound, Chrome 80 just did the world a solid by cutting off the offending Malware at the knees.
In a recent report, ZDNet reports that the threat intelligence firm KELA has reported that Chrome 80 features a new security measure for passwords that has reduced Genesis’ online inventory of stolen credentials by as much as 35%.
With Chrome 80, Google switched to using the AES-256 algorithm to hash passwords stored locally inside Chrome’s internal SQLite database. This switch to AES-256 has resulted in Chrome-saved passwords having a different format than they had before. Albeit tiny inside Chrome’s huge codebase, this small change has crippled AZORult’s ability to extract passwords from Chrome browsers.ZDNet
ZDNet does go on to explain that the development of the AZORult malware actually ended back in 2018 but many hackers have continued to evolve their own strains. Ultimately, this malware will be squashed and Genesis will be forced to find another alternative. Thankfully, Chrome updates every six weeks and the Chrome security team, along with third-party companies, are constantly on the lookout for ways to prevent these types of vulnerabilities in the browser. It’s good to know that, at least for now, the bad guys have taken a hit and here’s to hoping Genesis and sites like will soon meet their demise by whatever hands are capable of doing so. If you don’t have a notification update, you can check for updates to Chrome on Windows, macOS and Linux by heading to the three-dot menu and clicking “help” and About Chrome to make sure you’re on the latest version.