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Users' passwords exposed by Splunk

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Website security in corporate America

Updated Splunk, a kind of Google for business technology that boasts it can help reinforce your security, has exposed the details of major customers to hackers following a web site slip up.

The passwords of customers on Splunk.com were revealed after some debug information leaked on to its production servers. The debug code exposed users passwords to Splunk.com as clear text, the company said. The site contained the emails and user names customers had used to register with Spluk.

Splunk has reset all affected users' passwords in what it called an "abundance of caution", and purged the log files and indexes of users' active sessions on Splunk.com. It advised customers to change the temporary password as soon as possible.

Also, Splunk urged those who used their Splunk.com password on other systems or web sites to also change those passwords.

That should mean around half of Splunk users affected should have to change: a survey of web users' habits in the UK alone in January found 46 per cent use the same password for most web-based accounts. Five percent use the same password for every site.

The company notified customers through a letter and on its blog. According to the blog: "We have no reason to believe that the information was exposed to anyone other than the small subset of Splunk employees that have access to our internal Splunk deployment."

It said a "small number of passwords" were exposed in the web server’s error log.

Splunk has 1,750 customers including BT, Cisco, LikedIn, Nasa, Visa and the US Department of Energy. Its software is downloaded from the web and is used as a search, monitor and reporting tool that crawls through the raw data on applications, hardware and network systems.

Splunk searches logs, configurations, messages, alerts, scripts and metrics on a variety of systems. According to the company's site: "With Splunk you can troubleshoot application outages, investigate security incidents, and demonstrate compliance in minutes, not hours or days." ®

This article has been updated to explain the type of customer information contained in the Splunk.com site.

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