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:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    Download
  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download

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