Saturday, 14 July 2012 23:35

Billabong website hacked; reveals passwords of 21,000 users

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In order to make life easy for all concerned, Billabong chose to store details for their web site subscribers in plain text. How very thoughtful.

iTWire recently wrote in somewhat glowing terms of the steps Nvidia took to ensure the web access accounts of its customers were well protected.

We can give no such praise to whoever built Billabong's website.

According to a dump from their password database, Billabong stored all passwords in plain text - presumably this made it easier to tell a user what their password was if they'd forgotten it. It also made life very easy for any hackers who wished to masquerade as the users on the site.

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It also made the process (for any user who made this mistake) of trying the Billabong password against the email account. What could be easier than to write a simple script that lifted the email address and password out of the dump file and attempted to log in with them at the various webmail services.

Until SC Magazine brought the breach to Billabong's attention, the company was entirely unaware of the problem.

It appears that all accounts have been disabled, but the total lack of ANY advice from the company on their website is very concerning - the average user will not know that their password (possibly used elsewhere) is visible in plain text.

The company has been contacted for comment.


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David Heath

David Heath has had a long and varied career in the IT industry having worked as a Pre-sales Network Engineer (remember Novell NetWare?), General Manager of IT&T for the TV Shopping Network, as a Technical manager in the Biometrics industry, and as a Technical Trainer and Instructional Designer in the industrial control sector. In all aspects, security has been a driving focus. Throughout his career, David has sought to inform and educate people and has done that through his writings and in more formal educational environments.

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