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8,000 Comcast User Passwords Exposed
Update: Comcast tells us only about 700 users impacted....
by Karl Bode 07:29PM Monday Mar 16 2009 Tipped by wvcaver See Profile
According to the New York Times, a list of more than 8,000 Comcast user names and passwords were left exposed on the Internet for all to see for roughly the last two months. The information was posted to a document sharing website named Scribd by a user named vuthanhan2004, had been viewed over 345 times, and had been downloaded 27 times. Comcast tells the Times the passwords probably came from a phishing expedition and not from inside the cable giant. According to the Times, the carrier is freezing the e-mail accounts of impacted customers, and is "contacting them to educate them about using safe passwords."

Update: Comcast offered us this statement regarding the exposed user information, saying the total number of impacted customers was closer to 700:
quote:
Earlier today, we were alerted a Web site was hosting a document that reportedly contained Comcast .net customer user IDs and passwords. Based on an initial analysis of the document, we have identified that only about 700 of these accounts are real. The list was likely generated as the result of a phishing scam or some kind of malware that affected customer computers. We have no reason to believe that any Comcast systems have been compromised. The site has removed the document and we are in the process of freezing access to any customer's account on that list. We are also in the process of proactively contacting customers to let them know about this situation and the steps they can take to help protect themselves. Comcast takes customer privacy very seriously and it is precisely because of times like this that we have been providing free security software and tools for years to help customers protect themselves from phishing scams and malware.

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FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

1 edit

1 recommendation

Also a thread in the Comcast HSI forum

Comcast support has posted info in the Comcast HSI forum on this subject:
»Passwords of 8,000 Comcast Customers Exposed

Comcast customer support in the above msg thread claims that after duplicates in the list and inactive accounts were identified, there were only about 700 actual active accounts exposed.

keyboard5684
Sam

join:2001-08-01
Pittsburgh, PA

Re: Also a thread in the Comcast HSI forum

For a minute, I was surprised to see how many people used password as their... password?

Most ISPs usually require a number or something in there, but to allow for password to be the password is a little weird. Granted, it is all on the users side, for the ISP, spam and other problems are more the ISPs problem.
WareWolF2k

join:2000-11-14
Allentown, PA

Re: Also a thread in the Comcast HSI forum

RCN used to use "password" as a default password at one time. You are supposed to go on their web site and change it to something unique but some people never do.

dvd536
as Mr. Pink as they come
Premium
join:2001-04-27
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:4

Re: Also a thread in the Comcast HSI forum

said by WareWolF2k:

RCN used to use "password" as a default password at one time. You are supposed to go on their web site and change it to something unique but some people never do.
cox does the same thing.
-
if comcast still gives 2gb/mo on giganews, i bet lots of those were used to steal giganews service.
--
When I gez aju zavateh na nalechoo more new yonooz tonigh molinigh - Ken Lee
Corydon
Cultivant son jardin
Premium
join:2008-02-18
Denver, CO

Re: Also a thread in the Comcast HSI forum

They discontinued that a little while back.

cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7
said by WareWolF2k:

RCN used to use "password" as a default password at one time. You are supposed to go on their web site and change it to something unique but some people never do.
said by WareWolF2k:

RCN used to use "password" as a default password at one time. You are supposed to go on their web site and change it to something unique but some people never do.
That's why, as a system admin, I make the default password a 64-character mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols, and other unicode characters. Users get so frustrated the first time they have to enter the password and figure out how to type characters like , , and that they always change it. Of course they usually change it to "password" but at least the blame is on them and not me.

aaronwt
Premium
join:2004-11-07
Woodbridge, VA

1 edit

Re: Also a thread in the Comcast HSI forum

said by cdru:

said by WareWolF2k:

RCN used to use "password" as a default password at one time. You are supposed to go on their web site and change it to something unique but some people never do.
said by WareWolF2k:

RCN used to use "password" as a default password at one time. You are supposed to go on their web site and change it to something unique but some people never do.
That's why, as a system admin, I make the default password a 64-character mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols, and other unicode characters. Users get so frustrated the first time they have to enter the password and figure out how to type characters like , , and that they always change it. Of course they usually change it to "password" but at least the blame is on them and not me.
64 characters!?!?
I bet they love you. That is a crazy amount of characters to enter, even to initally setup up your own password.

cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7

Re: Also a thread in the Comcast HSI forum

said by aaronwt:

64 characters!?!?
I bet they love you. That is a crazy amount of characters to enter, even to initally setup up your own password.
I wasn't serious. Typical password policy is 8 characters and must have at least 3 of the following 4 things: Uppercase, lowercase, number, symbol.

pleekmo
Triptoe Through The Tulips
Premium
join:2001-09-14
Manchester, CT

2 recommendations

Re: Passwords

You just made my day! (Well, night, actually.)

I'd happened to find a Compaq Presario 6410nx in a midden. Wouldn't power up. I finally found out this evening that the thing uses standard ATX pinouts and I shove in a PSU that I happened to have lying about.

Powering up the computer I'm faced with an XP Pro login screen. Null password wouldn't work but your post prompted me to attempt "password". Well, it worked!
--
HCN: Because you deserve a rest!

Proud member of the Free Omelas Liberation Front.

keyboard5684
Sam

join:2001-08-01
Pittsburgh, PA

Re: Passwords

LOL... There are a lot of small businesses where I come in and do consulting for. When it is after the fact, meaning I come in after server and some PCs are setup, I try the following combination (50% say "I do not know the password" but login everyday)...

password (username as a password) null computer "the company phone number" "the company name" I
I
n many cases the password is written on a yellow sticky note buried in a pile or on the side of a monitor...

It is the age old security problem, password. I wish biometrics would be used more (I used to have an HP laptop that had a fingerprint scanner on it). Just have the user login using their fingerprint... they have to have fingers to type.

I wonder WHY have biometrics not become main-stream? They are cheap now, easy to use, and should be incorporated into the operating system (and they are in Windows, just like a smartcard)???
DonLibes
Premium,ExMod 2001
join:2003-01-19

Re: Passwords

Biometrics have all sorts of problems. It's all there in the literature.

Retired6
Premium
join:2002-11-09
Earth
Awesome !
NoPumpGas

join:2005-10-23
Glen Allen, VA

1 edit
And you believe them?

If they say the number is 700, you better wake up and realize it is probably triple that. That is nothing more then damage control talking, not reality.

Working for a IDS/IPS Security Operations Center, we handle outsourced accounts for allot of companies. I see first hand that what is reported as being compromised to the public is nothing more then PR talk. The real number of compromised accounts will most likely never see the light of day.

Security is most always an afterthought, especially in the world of ISP's.

Smith6612
Premium,MVM
join:2008-02-01
North Tonawanda, NY
kudos:24
Reviews:
·Verizon Online DSL
·Frontier Communi..

Freezing accounts...

Well, it isn't much of a shock to hear of this considering I've ran into people from time to time that use admin or password for their passwords. At least Comcast is teaching their users about having good passwords, so they are taking a positive step in my direction for this.
Stumbles

join:2002-12-17
Port Saint Lucie, FL
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse

The smell of "eh"?

Ermm, sounds like to me Comcast needs to "educate" their own syadmins/security experts about their own use of safe passwords. Now, maybe, just maybe those 8000 names *were* gathered from phishing attempts, but that is an awful lot of names from just *one* ISP. So the question is; is Comcast lying, or has other ISPs had similar phishing attempts with their customers. And if so, why is there no news about that?

en102
Canadian, eh?

join:2001-01-26
Valencia, CA

Re: The smell of "eh"?

I disagree on the 'number' at being from Comcast.
8,000 out of 15 million. That also may be 15 million 'subs' which may generate +30 million email adresses.

8,000/15,000,000 = 0.05%.

jlivingood
Premium,VIP
join:2007-10-28
Philadelphia, PA
kudos:2

Re: The smell of "eh"?

One of our PR folks (Charlie Douglas) just posted this on another site. Thought it may be interesting in relation to the question at hand:

Based on an initial analysis of the document, we have identified that only about 700 of these accounts are real. The list was likely generated as the result of a phishing scam or some kind of malware that affected customer computers. We have no reason to believe that any Comcast systems have been compromised. The site has removed the document and we are in the process of freezing access to any customer’s account on that list. We are also in the process of proactively contacting customers to let them know about this situation and the steps they can take to help protect themselves. It's precisely because of this kind of thing that we have been providing free security software and tools for years to help customers protect themselves from phishing scams and malware. The authorities have been alerted and we'll help with any investigation.
--
JL
Comcast

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

1 recommendation

Caps

I'm sure someone will find a way to relate this to Comcast's caps.

keyboard5684
Sam

join:2001-08-01
Pittsburgh, PA

1 recommendation

Re: Caps

Yes, it is this type of account exposure that causes the ISPs to implement caps.

DOWN WITH CAPS. Free Tibet. Legalize pot.

Sorry...

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

Re: Caps

said by keyboard5684:

Yes, it is this type of account exposure that causes the ISPs to implement caps.

DOWN WITH CAPS. Free Tibet. Legalize pot.

Sorry...
LOL that is good signature material...
k1ll3rdr4g0n

join:2005-03-19
Homer Glen, IL

1 recommendation

Re: Caps

said by fifty nine:

said by keyboard5684:

Yes, it is this type of account exposure that causes the ISPs to implement caps.

DOWN WITH CAPS. Free Tibet. Legalize pot.

Sorry...
LOL that is good signature material...
I second that. Hey Karl - make that the offical slogan of DSLReports .

h7

@charter.com
said by keyboard5684:

Yes, it is this type of account exposure that causes the ISPs to implement caps.

DOWN WITH CAPS. Free Tibet. Legalize pot.

Sorry...
Heh yep. 8000 + password + Scribd + vuthanhan2004 + Comcast = CAPS! Heh.

h#7
ctggzg
Premium
join:2005-02-11
USA
kudos:2

Out of how many millions of customers?

This is nothing.

en102
Canadian, eh?

join:2001-01-26
Valencia, CA

Re: Out of how many millions of customers?

Yup - like I posted... ~ 0.05% (assuming 8000/15million)
--
Canada = Hollywood North

TraumaJ

@comcast.net

Re: Out of how many millions of customers?

said by en102:

Yup - like I posted... ~ 0.05% (assuming 8000/15million)
Comcast has right at 27.7 million user ids.

h7

@charter.com

Re: Out of how many millions of customers?

said by TraumaJ :

said by en102:

Yup - like I posted... ~ 0.05% (assuming 8000/15million)
Comcast has right at 27.7 million user ids.
Well according to both of those guesstimations then the answer would be ( 27.7M x 0.05% = ) 13850, not 8000. But I doubt that; if Comcast can't get their facts straight, then we probably aren't either... :P

h#7

ptrowski
Got Helix?
Premium
join:2005-03-14
Putnam, CT
kudos:4
said by ctggzg:

This is nothing.
It's only nothing if you are not one of the affected folks.
madman00

join:2009-02-02
Portland, OR

s

maybe i can finally figure out my password
Desdinova
Premium
join:2003-01-26
Gaithersburg, MD

Re: s

Just google yer username and it'll probably pop up on a phished list somewhere...

goofy01

join:2004-02-05
Hammond, IN

Re: s

I just did that and the only thing that came up was my post here at DSLR.
Desdinova
Premium
join:2003-01-26
Gaithersburg, MD

Re: s

That's what They WANT you to think...MOOOOOO HA HAAAA!!

mob
On the next level..
Premium
join:2000-10-07
Reviews:
·SureWest Internet

Only 8,000?

Why that's COMCASTIC!

Seriously, they are setting new standards in F#*%&%(@ up.

They should merge with AIG, they got skills to save teh day!
--
If we do not succeed, then we run the risk of failure - J. Danforth Quayle
Ich habe kein Mitleid - Me
ebubman

join:2002-01-17
Mechanicsburg, PA

Re: Only 8,000?

ummm, if our goods were out there, is comcast going to let us know or do we have to wait until something happens to find out?
Bill03
Premium
join:2007-11-26
Richmond, VA
said by mob:

Why that's COMCASTIC!

Seriously, they are setting new standards in F#*%&%(@ up.

Naw, they are pikers. See these links:

»www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11064775/

And the Hotels.com article at »catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/24.31.html#subj3

Not to mention two of my credit card companies who have had to send me (and thousands of my fellow card holders) new credit cards in the last six month due to stolen data.

ff1324
Everybody Goes Home
Premium
join:2002-08-24
On Four Day

Plain text?

More importantly, why are the passwords being maintained in plain text instead of being hashed?

Doctor Olds
I Need A Remedy For What's Ailing Me.
Premium,VIP
join:2001-04-19
1970 442 W30
kudos:18

Re: Plain text?

said by ff1324:

More importantly, why are the passwords being maintained in plain text instead of being hashed?
Yes, Phishers store their stolen password lists in "plain text" for their ease and convenience. Who'd a thunk it.
--
What’s the point of owning a supercar if you can’t scare yourself stupid from time to time?

CUBS_FAN
Next Year Again..

join:2005-04-28
Chicago, IL
kudos:1

Common Courtesy

Do you think Comcast would or could notify the unfortunate accounts that their UN + PW's are exposed asking them to change their publicly known password?

EndCorpscumbags

@comcast.net

Please

Wouldn't surprise me if this was a Comcast rouse, that they leaked it themselves, in order to further push that crappy useless McAfee "Security Suite" junk on customer's computers. They've already been falsely accusing customers of sending spam in order to do that. Comcast must make a percentage off every unsuspecting customer they can install that garbage software on.

•••

FastiBook

join:2003-01-08
Newtown, PA

Exposed.

Dirty old man you are comcast!

- A
--
LETS GO METS!