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Re: wonder what tools or test was used
From: alan <alan () clueserver org>
Date: Fri, 14 Jul 2006 12:49:39 -0700 (PDT)

On Fri, 14 Jul 2006, Brent Clark wrote:

Hey all

With the hack on Debian,s gluck machine and the writes up about it.
In the 5th paragraph of the following link:

http://www.zdnet.com.au/news/security/soa/Debian_locks_out_developers_after_server_hack/0,2000061744,39263432,00.htm

It reads
"An investigation of developer passwords revealed a number of weak passwords whose accounts have been locked in response," Schulze wrote.

My question is, how would they go about that? What tools or tests were needed to test whether an account has a strong or weak password.

The only thing I can think of is a foreach on the usernames and some type of brute force / dictionary attack. I suppose it would have been nice if they
mentioned the service / protocal that was compromised.

There are a number of password checkers that can quickly determine weak passwords. ("If I can crack it, it is weak.") John the Ripper and Crack are only two of many.

Weak passwords are a big problem. When I worked at a large technology company, I ran Crack on the passwd file as part of my job. I got over 80% in under an hour just using my slow 333mhz laptop. Many of the passwords were "changeme". (Mostly in marketing, including the director of marketing.)

What was interesting is whos passwords were weak. I expected to get most of sales and marketing. (I think I actually got all of them.) I did not expect to get most of HR, then entire board of directors, and most of management (including most of IS and the engineering management.)

The ones who did not have weak passwords were most of the technical support staff and the younger engineers. It seemed that the people in their 20s who were technically savvy had stronger passwords than those who were older, more experienced and should have known better. (Except for the company Cypherpunks who all had strong passwords.)

Furthermore, of the ones I did break, the only ones who actually fixed their passwords were the people in HR. Everyone else did not see it as important.

I was later told to not check the strength of the passwords due to "liability concerns". I guess they felt that if they did not know about a problem, they were not liable for it if it caused a problem. Maybe one of the reasons they no longer exist as a company.

--
"I want to live just long enough to see them cut off Darl's head and
 stick it on a pike as a reminder to the next ten generations that some
 things come at too high a price. I would look up into his beady eyes and
 wave, like this... (*wave*!). Can your associates arrange that for me,
 Mr. McBride?"
                      - Vir "Flounder" Kotto, Sr. VP, IBM Empire.


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