Passwords Hacked by the Millions Are Discovered on Dutch Server

Thursday, 05 Dec 2013 10:55 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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Nearly 2 million passwords from websites like Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, and Google were hacked over the past month, claims a cybersecurity firm that said it found a trove of compromised logins.

But what was even more worrying was the fact that a majority of the passwords stolen were no more complex than "1234."

A research team from Trustwave SpiderLabs discovered the stolen passwords on Nov. 24 after it tracked down a suspicious server located in the Netherlands, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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The hackers reportedly used malicious keylogging software to collect passwords from Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Google, ADP, and LinkedIn and send them to the remote server where they could then access them.

Trustwave found that, out of all the swiped passwords, the most common ones were "123456," "123456789," "1234," "password," and "12345."

"If our hypothesis is true, then the inevitable conclusion is that people still choose comfort over security," the researchers said in a blog post on the SpiderLabs website. "If you don't enforce a password policy, don't expect your users to do it for you."

Despite the massive reserve of intel, Trustwave said there is no evidence that suggests the thieves actually used the passwords to access individuals accounts.

All of the targeted sites have been notified of the breach, according to CNNMoney. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and ADP said they've emailed users to reset the passwords. Google and Yahoo did not return CNNMoney's request for comment.

The security breach was more of a wake-up call for Internet users who are lax about their logins. Here are some tips from Trustwave on how to create an airtight password:

Use capital and lowercase letters
Use letters and numbers
Use words not found in the dictionary. For example, instead of "apple" go with "aapl"
Replace letters like "O" and "E" with numbers like "0" and "3"
Use long passwords

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