Risk
7/28/2008
02:23 PM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
Commentary
50%
50%

Password Security: With Prosecutors Like This, Who Needs Rogue Administrators?

So the San Francisco District Attorney, building a case against the rogue administrator who shut down city network access, decided to include actual passwords as evidence. Bonehead decisions may not get much more boneheaded than this.

So the San Francisco District Attorney, building a case against the rogue administrator who shut down city network access, decided to include actual passwords as evidence. Bonehead decisions may not get much more boneheaded than this.The San Francisco network lockout case has prompted much good and necessary thinking about just who has top-level access to and control of your networks.

Now it's raising questions of just how much we should expect legal officials to understand about digital evidence -- and how much more they need to understand.

Those questions flow from the decision of the San Francisco District Attorney's office to list 150 passwords as Exhibit A in the case against former (rogue) admin Terry Childs.

To be fair, the passwords listed are said to be part of two-step access system, relatively valueless on their own. I'd question that; if nothing else their listing gives observers the chance to glimpse the password creation strategies of 150 or so people.

But it's equally fair to ask: what are the prosecutors thinking? Even if every one of the 150 passwords is long-since changed, their listing -- the decision to list them -- reflects an insufficient (at minimum) understanding of digital security and confidence in digital privacy that's distressing.

Look at it this way -- would the DA's office have considered the valuelessness of the passwords in question if it had been Terry Childs who posted them instead of its own evidence-producing officers?

Don't think so. Same way I don't think the DA's office thought much about this at all.

And if you don't think that a list of changed or "valueless" passwords isn't a trove of possibility for crooks, take a look at this good bMighty article on password cracking techniques.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Five Emerging Security Threats - And What You Can Learn From Them
At Black Hat USA, researchers unveiled some nasty vulnerabilities. Is your organization ready?
Flash Poll
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-7445
Published: 2015-10-15
The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem in the Linux kernel through 4.x mishandles requests for Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) objects, which allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) via an application that processes graphics data, as demonstrated b...

CVE-2015-4948
Published: 2015-10-15
netstat in IBM AIX 5.3, 6.1, and 7.1 and VIOS 2.2.x, when a fibre channel adapter is used, allows local users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2015-5660
Published: 2015-10-15
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in eXtplorer before 2.1.8 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users for requests that execute PHP code.

CVE-2015-6003
Published: 2015-10-15
Directory traversal vulnerability in QNAP QTS before 4.1.4 build 0910 and 4.2.x before 4.2.0 RC2 build 0910, when AFP is enabled, allows remote attackers to read or write to arbitrary files by leveraging access to an OS X (1) user or (2) guest account.

CVE-2015-6333
Published: 2015-10-15
Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) 1.1j allows local users to gain privileges via vectors involving addition of an SSH key, aka Bug ID CSCuw46076.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join Dark Reading community editor Marilyn Cohodas and her guest, David Shearer, (ISC)2 Chief Executive Officer, as they discuss issues that keep IT security professionals up at night, including results from the recent 2016 Black Hat Attendee Survey.