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IEEE slips up, leaks logins

FTP server logs unsecured, leaving Apple, Google, IBM and Oracle details exposed

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IEEE members will be scrambling to change their logins after it emerged that more than 100,000 members’ names and plaintext passwords were left in plain sight for more than a month.

In this documentation and analysis of the breach, Danish FindZebra computer scientist Radu Dragusin notes, among other things, that bad password habits can exist even among the computer scientists, engineers and standards-developers of the IEEE as anywhere else. The most common password, he notes, was “123456”, followed closely by ieee2012.

Dragusin says the data was left lying around – along with raw Web server logs documenting more than 376 million HTTP requests – on an IEEE FTP server at ftp://ftp.ieee.org/uploads/akamai/ (the server was closed after he reported it to the organization).

While he highlighted some big-name companies and organisations whose staffers’ IEEE logins were compromised – Apple, Google, IBM, Oracle, Samsung, NASA, Stanford University and so on – practically any outfit that employs high-ranking engineers in electrical, electronics, computer sciences and communications disciplines will probably get mentioned somewhere in the logs.

Dragusin has undertaken not to make any of the raw data public. It’s not known at this stage whether any other organization downloaded the same data set, or if anything odd has happened to any standards developments processes. ®

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