Attacks/Breaches
12/22/2010
09:40 AM
50%
50%

Schwartz On Security: Don't Get Hacked For the Holidays

The Gawker data breach highlights how few companies employ passwords for security, and how many Web site users treat them as little more than a nuisance.

Changed your password for Gawker, or on any of the other 20 Web sites for which you employ the same password? Make it a pre-2011 resolution.

Earlier this month, more than 1.3 million Gawker Media accounts -- including ones at Gawker, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, and Fleshbot -- were exposed by attackers, together with 540,000 related e-mail addresses, plus choice internal Gawker communications.

Not all Gawker passwords, which were encrypted, got cracked and released by attackers -- just the weak ones, of which there were plenty to go around. According to an analysis published by the Wall Street Journal, many Gawker users share an unhealthy affinity for mind-numbingly simple passwords.

Indeed, as gleaned from the 188,279 Gawker Media passwords that were exposed, here were the most popular choices: 123456, password, 12345678, lifehack, qwerty, abc123, 111111, monkey, consumer, and 12345. While all Gawker passwords had been encrypted, many were easily cracked by attackers. On the flipside, however, the data is not a true, representative sample of all passwords selected, since longer and less easy-to-guess passwords apparently weren't cracked by attackers.

Interestingly, many people's password choices are quite consistent with the results of a study released by Imperva in January 2010. Imperva analyzed the 32 million passwords exposed during the Rockyou.com breach, and found that the most popular were: 123456, 12345, 123456789, Password, iloveyou, princess, and rockyou.

According to Imperva, "nearly 50% of users used names, slang words, dictionary words or trivial passwords -- consecutive digits, adjacent keyboard keys, and so on."

In addition, many people were recycling their passwords ad infinitum. As a result, according to a statement made at the time by Imperva CTO Amichai Shulman, "employees using the same passwords on Facebook that they use in the workplace bring the possibility of compromising enterprise systems with insecure passwords, especially if they are using easy to crack passwords."

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-9676
Published: 2015-02-27
The seg_write_packet function in libavformat/segment.c in ffmpeg 2.1.4 and earlier does not free the correct memory location, which allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service ("invalid memory handler") and possibly execute arbitrary code via a crafted video that triggers a use after free.

CVE-2014-9682
Published: 2015-02-27
The dns-sync module before 0.1.1 for node.js allows context-dependent attackers to execute arbitrary commands via shell metacharacters in the first argument to the resolve API function.

CVE-2015-0655
Published: 2015-02-27
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in Unified Web Interaction Manager in Cisco Unified Web and E-Mail Interaction Manager allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via vectors related to a POST request, aka Bug ID CSCus74184.

CVE-2015-0884
Published: 2015-02-27
Unquoted Windows search path vulnerability in Toshiba Bluetooth Stack for Windows before 9.10.32(T) and Service Station before 2.2.14 allows local users to gain privileges via a Trojan horse application with a name composed of an initial substring of a path that contains a space character.

CVE-2015-0885
Published: 2015-02-27
checkpw 1.02 and earlier allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (infinite loop) via a -- (dash dash) in a username.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
How can security professionals better engage with their peers, both in person and online? In this Dark Reading Radio show, we will talk to leaders at some of the security industry’s professional organizations about how security pros can get more involved – with their colleagues in the same industry, with their peers in other industries, and with the IT security community as a whole.