Feeds

RockYou password snafu exposes webmail accounts

Clueless developer airs 32m user login IDs

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Millions of user passwords to social networking sites have been exposed, after a serious SQL injection flaw on the Rockyou.com website left login details - stored in plain text - up for grabs.

RockYou - which develops apps for social networking sites including Facebook, Bebo and MySpace - stored usernames, passwords and email addresses in plain text. That's bad enough in itself, but then an SQL injection flaw on RockYou's website exposed the information to prying eyes.

Amichai Shulman, chief technology officer with the data security firm Imperva, said the passwords exposed will often be the same as those users utilise for webmail accounts associated with their social networking profiles, creating yet more potential problems.

"The bad news is that the SQL injection flaw could have allowed hackers to access the 32 million entries of user names plus passwords in the Rockyou.com database... since the user names and passwords are by default the same as the user's webmail account — such as Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail — this is a major lapse in security," Shulman said.

"The vast majority of subscribers to Rockyou.com are using the same credentials on the site as their regular Web email service. The users are young and security is not top of their minds, but nonetheless companies need to keep them protected and ensure their details are safe. With the popularity of web 2.0 tools, companies may focus more on becoming successful quickly at the expense of security," he added.

Screenshots illustrating the breach can be found in a story by Techchrunch here. RockYou has reportedly fixed the issue, but this may have come too late for some.

"Unfortunately some accounts had already been compromised before the vulnerability was fixed," Shulman said. "All users need to be cautious and ensure they change their email passwords as their credentials may have been put at risk."

It's unclear why RockYou left passwords on its systems without encrypting them in the first place. We dropped a note to the developers asking for a response on this point on Tuesday, but are yet to hear back. We'll update this story as and when we know more. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole
Update your gear now to avoid early attacks hitting the web
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.