LinkedIn confirms 'some' passwords leaked
Security researcher says more than 6.5M passwords likely compromised
Computerworld - In response to widespread reports of a massive data breach at LinkedIn, the company Wednesday confirmed that passwords belonging to "some" of its members have been compromised.
In a carefully worded blog post, LinkedIn director Vicente Silveira said the company has confirmed that an unspecified number of hashed passwords posted publicly on a Russian hacker forum earlier this week, "correspond to LinkedIn accounts."
Silveira made no mention of how the passwords may have ended up on the forums but noted that LinkedIn is continuing to investigate.
"Members that have accounts associated with the compromised passwords will notice that their LinkedIn account password is no longer valid," Silveria said.
Users of the social networking site for professionals will also receive an email from LinkedIn with instructions on how to reset their passwords. The email will not contain any links that users will need to click on to reset their password, he noted. Affected customers will also receive a note from LinkedIn with more information on what happened and why they are being asked to reset their passwords, Silveira said.
Earlier Silveira had posted a separate note urging LinkedIn members to change their passwords and providing them with tips on how to create strong passwords.
Silveira was responding to numerous reports earlier Wednesday that hackers accessed close to 6.5 million hashed passwords from a LinkedIn database and posted it publicly on a Russian hacker forum. According to security researchers who had seen the compromised data, more than 300,000 of the hashed passwords have already been decrypted and posted online in clear text.
LinkedIn had earlier said it was looking into those reports but had not confirmed the breach.
Tal Be'ery, security research leader at Imperva, claims to have seen the stolen data and said much more than 6.5 million passwords might have been compromised.
According to Be'ery, the passwords that have been posted online appear to be only those passwords that the hackers needed help in cracking. What the breached password list is missing are the usual easy-to-guess passwords that people commonly use to control access to online accounts, he said. The LinkedIn password file does not contain any of the common passwords that Imperva's researchers have typically run across when analyzing similar password breaches, he said.
"Most likely, the hacker has figured out the easy passwords and needs help with less common ones." So it's likely that only the more complicated passwords have been revealed so far, he theorized.
The breached list shows that LinkedIn did not use best practices in protecting the passwords, he said. The hashes that were used to mask the real passwords were so-called unsalted SHA-1 hashes. SHA-1 is a hashing algorithm that is used to protect passwords. Because SHA-1 isn't foolproof, security experts have for some time recommended that organizations use a technique called "salting" to make passwords harder to crack. With salting, an application applies a random string of characters to a password before it is hashed. The process ensures that even if two passwords are identical, their hashes will be unique.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- The 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements addressed by Peer 1 Hosting This handy quick reference outlines the 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle.
- Mobile Policy Checklist Here's what to consider when putting together a mobile policy designed to support a highly productive workforce.
- Securing BYOD Mobile computing is becoming so ubiquitous that people no longer bat an eye seeing someone working two devices simultaneously. Individuals and organizations are...
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Endpoint Backup & Restore: Protect Everyone, Everywhere Arek Sokol from the bleeding-edge IT team at Genentech/Roche explains how he leverages cross-platform enterprise endpoint backup in the public cloud as part...
- Streamline Software Asset Management, Compose a software Management Symphony Keeping track of your organization's software is easy with effective software management solutions from CDW. View the videos in our software solutions channel
- Druva inSync: Endpoint Data Protection & Governance CLICK HERE to watch this video about protecting corporate data on laptops and mobile devices, sponsored by Druva. All Security White Papers | Webcasts