Daily Archives: 2011-02-09

Measuring password re-use empirically

In the aftermath of Anonymous’ revenge hacking of HBGary over the weekend, some enterprising hackers used one of the stolen credentials and some social engineering to gain root access at rootkit.com, which has been down for a few days since. There isn’t much novel about the hack but the dump of rootkit.com’s SQL databases provides another password dataset for research, though an order of magnitude smaller than the Gawker dataset with just 81,000 hashed passwords.

More interestingly, due to the close proximity of the hacks, we can compare the passwords associated with email addresses registered at both Gawker and rootkit.com. This gives an interesting data point on the widely known problem of password re-use. This new data seems to indicate a significantly higher re-use rate than the few previously published estimates. Continue reading Measuring password re-use empirically