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Default logins posted on porn-defaced security site

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Application security programs and practises

Updated The security specialist who named and shamed the titans of hardware manufacturing by posting easy default logins for networked devices on the nerdnet Web site had his work defaced this weekend by a detractor who either works for one of the companies mentioned or simply thinks the Webmaster is a lamer and wanted to prove it.

The page in question was until recently covered with some very disturbing hardcore bestiality pics. While the Webmaster has since regained control of the site, we urge caution in following the link below, in case the same should happen again.

Network Security Analyst Joe Jenkins maintains the page. "I have safeguards in place to strip [undesirable] content," he writes, "but apparently I did not code the filters well enough. Even those of us familiar with security are vulnerable. To those who have contributed, and reported the abuse to me, I thank you. To the attacker, I thank you also."

"Although I do not agree with your methods, your actions have shown me that there is always something else to be watching out for. It also shows me my regex abilities are far from polished. I don't claim to be a security expert, but I do work in the field and am considered good at what I do."

"I only hope you use your talents to a better means than you have shown here today. I know I will look a lot harder at my code the next time I put together a Web page."

A good reminder that Net security is never as easy as we would like it to be. Herewith the original story we posted Friday:



One of the most idiotic security flaws in all of computing, affecting software and hardware alike, comes from the manufacturers' default logins which enable tech support staff to assist users in diagnosing configuration problems with their new acquisitions. These are meant to be changed to something difficult to guess once the devices or applications go live, but often are not.

With that in mind, the nerdnet Web site has named and shamed the preposterously weak, easy-to-guess default logins and passwords to scores of networked devices -- routers, firewalls, gateways -- arranged alphabetically by proud manufacturers from 3Com to Zyxel.

Here we find such gem combos as admin/tech; user/password; admin/system; root/pass; cisco/cisco; admin/1234; root/root; and the all-time-classic, 'letmein' with no password required. There are dozens more listed which any brain-damaged script kiddie could guess in less than a minute.

While these holes won't affect users making purchases via a proper SSL-enctypted gateway, or those with sense enough to communicate via encrypted e-mail, there are heaps of 'mom and pop' e-commerce sites that never heard of SSL, a number of which naively keep their customer records in world-readable directories and in plain text, using default directory locations associated with the lame CGI scripts they download for free.

Additionally, Net newbies have been known to use unencrypted e-mail with their credit details when making complaints or shipping inquiries; and sensitive personal information is often shared among close friends via Web chat clients like IRC, ICQ, MSN Messenger and so on. All of these unwitting victims are vulnerable to those who can crack low-level network hardware -- a trick one would assume to be more difficult than it actually is.

We hope our readers won't lose too much sleep as they contemplate their credit-card details and innermost thoughts whizzing through routers and sitting behind firewalls with such password protection as admin/1234.

Sweet dreams. ®

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