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“123456, password, welcome” – Yahoo Password Posted Online July 12, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in News, PCI DSS, Risk & Risk Management.
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A story today on MSNBC says that Yahoo Voices was compromised and 450,000 usernames/password posted online.  Not surprisingly, the passwords were not hashed or otherwise protected using encryption.  While the posting of passwords is nothing new what is interesting is what the researchers found when looking at user generated passwords.  The most common passwords were ‘123456’ followed by ‘password’ and ‘welcome’.  Fully 1/3 of the passwords used lower case letters only.  Here is where I get on my soapbox.  According to the story:

“Yahoo! Voices’ administrators made a big mistake storing the passwords in plaintext, but all users need to bolster their own security as well. Make passwords harder to guess by making them more than eight characters long, and pepper them with upper-case letters, numbers and punctuation marks.”

First, strong passwords would not have helped because YAHOO WAS STORING THEM IN CLEARTEXT!..and they were stolen! Second, the company should enforce strong passwords.  While all users should use strong passwords, when dealing with 450K users it is prudent to understand that either some users aht a will not understand what a strong password is or will simply ignore the directions.  Yahoo should have forced strong passwords…

“Poisoned Apple?” – OSX Lion Encryption Passwords Insecure May 7, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in cybersecurity, Industry News, InfoSec & Privacy, PCI DSS.
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For years many Apple purists (I used to be one) have been touting the inherent security of the Apple operating system.  According to Techcrunch in February, 2012 it was discovered that OSX Lion (the newest OS from Apple) had a major security weakness and released widely within the last few days.  It was disclosed that the FileVault encryption passwords are now visible in plain text outside of a computer’s encrypted area.  This effectively renders the encryption useless as the keys (the passwords) are not secure.  While it was originally believed that the vulnerability as specific to the encrypted File Vault solution, it appears now that the vulnerability is larger…potentially much larger.  Sophos Naked Security blog states: “Anyone with access to the disk can read the file containing the password and use it to log into the encrypted area of the disk, rendering the encryption pointless and permitting access to potentially sensitive documents. This could occur through theft, physical access, or a piece of malware that knows where to look.”    Key management and password security continue to be the weakest link in most encryption implementations.

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