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Passwords Under Assault: The Ongoing Battle Between Networks and Hackers

A response to Passwords under Assault

http://arstechnica.com/security/2012/08/passwords-under-assault/

The article begins by citing a specific incident that took place in December of 2010 where 1.3 million of the users on Gawker servers had their account information compromised which in turn caused a chain reaction for users who used the same email and passwords for other accounts. After obtaining the login credentials the hackers used botnets to send spam over twitter and had success accessing Amazon and Yahoo.

According to the article the average web user maintains 25 separate accounts with just 6.5 passwords to protect them. This creates a problem because users often use the same names as there email accounts as login ids and then repeat passwords so by having the information for one account it can often cause a chain reaction. I can certainly see how this would be true since I personally use around 8 or 9 passwords for all of my different online accounts of which I probably have thirty. However I don’t use the same combination of user names and password on any two websites that I can think of and my usernames are often different than my email accounts, both things that often caused multiple accounts to be hacked for web users.

Cyber security is a growing threat that I believe will only continue to increase as more and more personal information is accessible through various online accounts. Many people store everything from bank account information to pictures of their dogs on different web accounts with the blind trust that the information will be safe since it is password protected. This leaves many people vulnerable to both theft and identity fraud. Beyond personal liabilities corporations and the government also have a lot of information that is accessible through the internet and are vulnerable to hackers.

From my knowledge of the growing threat I would compare the relationship between hacker and target to that of shooter and target. As offensive capabilities of weapons such as rifles become more powerful over time so do the defensive capabilities of the targets i.e. improved Kevlar technology (bulletproof vests) Networks are going to continue to get harder to penetrate while hackers continue to get better at hacking. It’s an ongoing cycle that I don’t personally see an end for. Hopefully there will not be an extended period where the hacker is superior over the defensive capabilities of networks because the results could be disastrous.

~ by kroll on October 1, 2012.

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