Psst. I know your password

Wednesday, 22 May 2002, 3:54 PM EST

Retrieving the password file from one of the health care company's servers, the consulting firm put "John the Ripper," a well-known cracking program, on the case. While well-chosen passwords could take years--if not decades - of computer time to crack, it took the program only an hour to decipher 30 percent of the passwords for the nearly 10,000 accounts listed in the file.

"Just about every company that we have gone into, even large multinationals, has a high percentage of accounts with easily (cracked) passwords," said Greg Shipley, director of consulting for Neohapsis. "We have yet to see a company whose employees don't pick bad passwords."

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