Hundreds of millions of internet users continue to put themselves at risk of having their accounts hacked by using incredibly simple and commonly used passwords which can easily be guessed by cyber criminals – or worse, just plucked from databases of stolen information.
An analysis of the 100,000 most common passwords made public by data breaches and hacking campaigns suggests that vast swathes of people still don’t understand the importance of having a strong password – or how to create one – using names, sports teams, bands and even just keys close together on the keyboard in an effort to secure accounts.
The passwords have been gathered using information from global data data breaches which are already in the public domain, having been leaked, shared or sold by hackers on the dark web.
The full list has been created and shared by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre – the cyber arm of the GCHQ intelligence service – with the aim of encouraging users to create strong passwords to help protect sensitive data.
By far the most commonly used password revealed in data breaches is ‘123456’, with 23.2 million accounts using this password – made up of the first six numerical keys across the top of a keyboard; 7.7 million users went the whole hog and used almost all the numerical keys, opting to use ‘123456789’ as their password.
The remainder of the top five most commonly used passwords are each used by over 3 million users who’ve fallen data breaches – ‘qwerty’ appears 3.8m times, ‘password’ appears 3.6m times and ‘111111’ appears 3.1 million times.
Many of the top 50 most used passwords – almost all of which are used by over half a million people – are based around basic ideas, like being made up a simple series of numbers, or the same number repeated six or seven times.
Passwords ‘iloveyou’, ‘monkey’ and ‘dragon’ are among the top 20 most used, while ‘myspace1’ is ranked 26th on the list with 735,980 users selecting it as their password – it’s likely that they selected this as their password for MySpace, even if many have long forgotten about their account on the early social network.
SEE: A winning strategy for cybersecurity (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)
Names are a common password theme, with hundreds of thousands of users just using a single name as a password. ‘ashley’ and ‘michael’ are used by over 400,000 users each, with ‘daniel’, ‘jessica’ and ‘charlie’ each used over 300,000 times.
It’s likely that these are the users’ own names – meaning that if a hacker gets hold of an email address and no password, cracking it by using the victim’s first name might blow the thing wide open.
Bands are also a common theme when it comes to users selecting simple passwords, with the password list detailing how 285,706 users opted for ‘blink182′ as their password – making the pop-punk band the most commonly selected music related password. ’50cent’, ‘enimem’, ‘metallica’ and ‘slipknot’ are all each used over 140,000 times.
Sports teams are another common theme amongst the most reguarly breached passwords. Liverpool wins the title of most used Premier League football team in passwords, with 280,723 users choosing ‘liverpool’ to lock their account.
The remainder of the top five Premier League football teams in the top five most commonly breached passwords are ‘chelsea’ ‘arsenal’ ‘manutd’ and ‘everton’.
People who use their favourite sports team as their password could easily find themselves the victim of a hack – many sports fans will talk about their favourite team on social media and it could therefore be relatively simple for a cyber criminal to seek this information out on Twitter or Facebook and use the information in an effort to crack the account.
SEE: The secret to being a great spy agency in the 21st century: Incubating startups [TechRepublic]
A major problem with these simple passwords is that it’s incredibly likely that the users are using them across multiple accounts – meaning that if their email address and password are exposed in a breach they could easily be used to access other services they uses including social media and online shopping accounts.
“Password re-use is a major risk that can be avoided – nobody should protect sensitive data with something that can be guessed, like their first name, local football team or favourite band,” said Dr Ian Levy, NCSC’s Technical Director
“Using hard-to-guess passwords is a strong first step and we recommend combining three random but memorable words. Be creative and use words memorable to you, so people can’t guess your password.”
The NCSC – which has released the password list ahead of it’s CYBERUK 2019 conference in Glasgow – recommends using three random words as a password.
The password list was created using breached usernames and passwords collected on Have I Been Pwned, a website by security expert Troy Hunt which allows users to check if their email address appears in major data breaches.
“Making good password choices is the single biggest control consumers have over their own personal security posture. We typically haven’t done a very good job of that either as individuals or as the organisations asking us to register with them,” said Hunt.
“Recognising the passwords that are most likely to result in a successful account takeover is an important first step in helping people create a more secure online presence,” he added.
The NCSC has published advice on what makes a good password and how users can secure their accounts on the official NCSC website.
READ MORE ON CYBER SECURITY
Managing Vulnerabilities in a Cloud Native World
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Security Tools Help Bring Dev and Security Teams Together
Software development teams are increasingly focused on identifying and mitigating any issues as quickly and completely as possible. This relates not only to software quality but also software security. Different organizations are at different levels when it comes to having their development teams and security teams working in concert, but the simple fact remains that there are far more developers out there than security engineers.
Those factors are leading organizations to consider security tooling and automation to proactively discover and resolve any software security issues throughout the development process. In the recent report, “GigaOm Radar for Developer Security Tools,” Shea Stewart examines a roundup of security tools aimed at software development teams.
Stewart identified three critical criteria to bear in mind when evaluating developer security tools. These include:
- Vendors providing tools to improve application security can and should also enhance an organization’s overall security posture.
- The prevailing “shift-left” mindset doesn’t necessarily mean the responsibility for reducing risk should shift to development, but instead focusing on security earlier in the process and continuing to do so throughout the development process will reduce risk and the need for extensive rework.
- Security throughout the entire software development lifecycle (SDLC) is critical for any organization focused on reducing risk.
Figure 1. How Cybersecurity Applies Across Each Stage of the Software Development Lifecycle *Note: This report focuses only on the Developer Security Tooling area
Individual vendors have made varying levels of progress and innovation toward enhancing developer security. Following several acquisitions, Red Hat, Palo Alto Networks, and Rapid7 have all added tooling for developer security to their platforms. Stewart sees a couple of the smaller vendors like JFrog and Sonatype as continuing to innovate to remain ahead of the market.
Vendors delving into this category and moving deeper into “DevSecOps” all seem to be taking different approaches to their enhanced security tooling. While they are involving security in every aspect of the development process, some tend to be moving more quickly to match the pace of the SDLC. Others are trying to shore up existing platforms by adding functionality through acquisition. Both infrastructure and software developers are now sharing toolsets and processes, so these development security tools must account for the requirements of both groups.
While none of the 12 vendors evaluated in this report can provide comprehensive security throughout the entire SDLC, they all have their particular strengths and areas of focus. It is therefore incumbent upon the organization to fully and accurately assess its SDLC, involve the development and security teams, and match the unique requirements with the functionality provided by these tools. Even if it involves using more than one at different points throughout the process, focus on striking a balance between stringent security and simplifying the development process.
Read more: Key Criteria for Evaluating Developer Security Tools, and the Gigaom Radar for Developer Security Tool Companies.
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Key Criteria for Evaluating User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA)
Cybersecurity is a multidisciplinary practice that not only grows in complexity annually but evolves nearly as quickly. A survey of the security landscape today would reveal concerns ranging from the classic compromised servers to the relatively new DevSecOps practices aimed at securing the rapid deployment of new code and infrastructure. However, some things remain constant no matter how much change is introduced. While technology evolves and complexity varies, there is almost always a human component in
risks presented to an organization.
User Behavior Analysis (UBA) was designed to analyze the actions of users in an organization and attempt to identify normal and abnormal behaviors. From this analysis, malicious or risky behaviors can be detected. UBA solutions identify events that are not detectable using other methods because, unlike classic security tools (an IDS or SIEM for example), UBA does not simply pattern match or apply rule sets to data to identify security events. Instead, it looks for any and all deviations from baseline user activity.
As technology advanced and evolved, and the scope of what is connected to the network grew, the need to analyze entities other than users emerged. In response, entity analysis has been added to UBA to create UEBA or User and Entity Behavior Analysis. The strategy remains the same, but the scope of analysis has expanded to include entities involving things like daemons, processes, infrastructure, and so on.
How to Read this Report
This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:
Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.
GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.
Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.
The post Key Criteria for Evaluating User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) appeared first on Gigaom.
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