[ISN] Thousands of passwords accessed by cyber prowler (8/13/1998)

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Thu Aug 13 1998 - 11:06:12 PDT

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    Forwarded From: William Knowles <erehwonat_private>
    Posted at 9:58 a.m. PDT Thursday,
    August 13, 1998
    Thousands of passwords accessed by cyber prowler
    BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- Using an Internet program called ``John the
    Ripper,'' a hacker has broken into computer accounts at universities and
    companies around the world to steal encrypted passwords. 
    The FBI is investigating the case, in which 48,000 passwords were decoded
    from a list of 186,000.  Authorities believe the hacker is operating from
    somewhere in Europe because the first known case involved computers at
    European universities. 
    >From there, the hacker reportedly broke into accounts at a Silicon Valley
    company, an Internet service provider in Indiana, the University of
    California at Berkeley, UCLA, the California Institute of Technology, the
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. 
    ``The technology he was using is not sophisticated, but what's interesting
    here is the scope,'' said Doug Tygar, a computer expert at Carnegie Mellon
    University who will join the UC Berkeley faculty this fall. 
    ``I'm impressed by his persistence to keep something running for that
    long,'' Tygar told the San Francisco Chronicle in a story published today.
    ``The stamina to collect this number of passwords is pretty
    The cyber intruder apparently did not seek out classified information or
    break into government accounts, but trotted the globe electronically for
    passwords in a quest for greater access. He or she gained access to the
    Internet through Telenordia, an Internet service provider in Sweden, and
    left a computer trail through England, Denmark and South Korea. 
    The hacker was not detected until June 29, when a graduate student told UC
    Berkeley officials his account had been broken into. 
    Two other high-profile incidents have also renewed concerns about computer
    security. In March, hackers attacked computer nationwide running Microsoft
    network software at NASA, the Navy and colleges. Last month, two
    Cloverdale teens pleaded guilty to hacking to U.S. government computers. 
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