Password Security Issues

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mark Gardner

1f2f664e68a603b3c54890fbbcd37857

Since the Wikileaks "cable gate" release hacking, denial of service attacks and in the last couple of days theft of personal data from Gawker and McDonald's to name two, have been all over the press.

When Auditing or giving training I tell people that a lot of things are transferable from the Enterprise to your home computing activities, particularly in the social media arena.

However, for the Gawker account hack, and for the record, yes I was affected and have changed my password, details have been released about the passwords used by those on the site (no mine is not listed):

http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2010/12/13/the-top-50-gawker-media-passwords/

I am in no way surprised at the passwords, and I use the term very lightly, that people have used.

If anything were the administration passwords any different which enable the encryption to be broken and the passwords stolen?

The article from the Wall Street Journal also gives plenty of detail about lengths of passwords on other sites such as Google.

All this is useful information for the Security professional, and can be used in our daily work. Particularly enforcing password security, at home or at work, we all want simplicity in our passwords to make them easy to remember.

However, even a random set of letters, numbers and special characters become easy to remember when you are typing them into your machine multiple times a day.

Many password policies advocate at least one capital letter, one number and in some cases one special character.

Therefore, Password1! would meet the policy, which isn't strong enough as I'm sure you'll agree.

As I saw written the other day, Password is not a Password, maybe now with these high profile events, people will start to realize this too.

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