Data Analysis of myBART Info Reveals Weak Passwords

By Fahmida Y. Rashid  |  Posted 2011-08-16 Print this article Print

Identity Finder released a detailed analysis of the data hacktivist collective Anonymous released Aug. 14 after successfully breaching the Website. The attack on the Website maintained by the Bay Area Rapid Transit authority to allow riders to get service information and plan their trips was prompted by the agency officials to temporarily suspend cellular service on select train stations.

With the service disruption on Aug. 11, a planned demonstration protesting two fatal shootings of passengers by transit police, one in July and the other in 2009, did not occur. Officials of the San Francisco-area regional train system claimed organizers were using mobile devices on the platforms to coordinate the protest, and disconnecting cellular service was for the greater public good.

Anonymous blasted the service interruption and stole the database containing personal information for more than 2,000 riders who used the Website. According to the Identity Finder analysis, the files released on various torrent sites contained 2,000 passwords, 1,764 email addresses, 301 phone numbers and 88 passwords. The top five cities with victims affected by this breach are Oakland, San Leandro, Alameda, Walnut Creek, and San Francisco, Calif.

The number of passwords released is of grave concern, as password reuse is a "serious problem," Todd Feinman, Identity Finder's CEO said.

Criminals will be trying the email address and password combinations to see if they can get into various Webmail, bank and retailer sites, Feinman said. Recent data analysis have shown that password reusage remains rampant amongst Internet users despite recent high-profile data breaches

Some users create site-specific passwords by including characters related to the name of the Website in the password. It may not increase security, but it does stop password reuse, according to Identity Finder. However, the company found that only 1.5 percent of the passwords used this type of password, and the remainder were generic terms and could easily be reused on other services.

Identity Finder performed a similar data analysis on the dumped data stolen from 70 local law enforcement offices around the country just last week. |

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