Feeds

LinkedIn admits site hack, adds pinch of salt to passwords

Biz network says it has upped security

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

LinkedIn has confirmed that the list of 6.5 million user passwords leaked yesterday is genuine.

The social network for suits said it was still investigating the situation, but it said the SHA-1-hashed password list posted on a Russian Dropbox-alike site contained real user data. LinkedIn has chucked compromised users' passwords out and will be sending them emails to let them know how to get a new one (full details of the process here).

Although the website's engineers hashed the stored passwords - a process that converts each one into a new long string of characters that are tough or impossible to convert back into the original password - they did not apply any salt.

By overlooking this technique, it is easy for hackers to produce a so-called rainbow table of hashes from possible passwords and search for these in the leaked list, thus identifying a significant number of the original passwords. Salting adds extra arbitrary data to a password when it is hashed, thwarting pre-generated tables and making life difficult for password crackers.

The firm said that its security has been tightened.

"It is worth noting that the affected members who update their passwords and members whose passwords have not been compromised benefit from the enhanced security we just recently put in place, which includes hashing and salting of our current password databases," the network said in a blog posting.

The company also apologised to its users for the breach.

Dating site eHarmony was also hacked, possibly by the same attackers that hit LinkedIn. The site said it was resetting the passwords of affected users and assured members that it used "robust security measures, including password hashing and data encryption". ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
One HUNDRED FAMOUS LADIES exposed NUDE online
Celebrity women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds
Another day, another way in to your home router
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.