recommended reading

Threatwatch

MacRumors hackers take 860,000 passwords to heighten security

Stolen credentials; Unauthorized use of system administrator privileges; User accounts compromised

A group that infiltrated MacRumors Forums doesn’t intend to use login data that was stolen to access the accounts of people who reused the same credentials elsewhere on the Web. The group just wanted to sharpen the skills of both the hackers and the MacRumors administrators.

“The pledge was made in this post by a user who supplied confidential password details that weren't publicly available. Among other things, that information included partial cryptographic hash corresponding to the password of MacRumors Editorial Director Arnold Kim, as well as the cryptographic salt used to increase the time required to crack it,” Ars reports.

The user defended the intrusion as a benign undertaking.

"We're not logging in to your gmails, apple accounts, or even your yahoo accounts (unless we target you specifically for some unrelated reason)," the user known as Lol wrote. "We're not terrorists. Stop worrying, and stop blaming it on Macrumors when it was your own fault for reusing passwords in the first place."

In subsequent posts here and here, Lol expanded on the motivation behind the hack. "Outside of this hobby, *cough*, I do partake in whitehat activities and try to contribute to some open source projects etc. It builds quite the resumé." The MacRumors breach, Lol added, was taken on "to test myself. I never defaced the site, I never bragged about it anywhere, I just got in and got out."

More than half of the 860,106 password hashes used a cryptographic salt that contained just three characters.

Ars explains: “Salts are pseudo-random strings that are appended to the plain text of passwords before they are run through a one-way hash function. Salting is designed to increase the time it takes to crack large numbers of hashes by requiring the attacker to make guesses against each hash individually instead of all at once. (Salting also prevents cracking through the use of rainbow tables, although in the age of video cards and efficient dictionary attacks made possible by Hashcat and other free cracking programs, few people use that method anymore.) To be truly effective, salts must be unique for every hash, something that generally isn't possible with a three-byte salt.”

Finally Ars warns: “MacRumors account holders shouldn't take the word of an admitted trespasser that their accounts on other sites won't be accessed.”

ThreatWatch is a regularly updated catalog of data breaches successfully striking every sector of the globe, as reported by journalists, researchers and the victims themselves.

sector

Social Media; Technology; Web Services

reported

November 13, 2013

reported by

Ars Technica

number affected

860,106 user accounts

location of breach

Unknown

perpetrators

Unknown

location of perpetrators

Unknown

date breach occurred

November 11, 2011

date breach detected

Unknown

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.