Researcher releases 10 million usernames, passwords from data breaches

The data is already public but has been cleaned up to enable better analysis

A researcher has released 10 million usernames and passwords collected from data breaches over the last decade, a step he worries could be a legally murky but one that will help security research.

The data comes from major data breaches at companies including Adobe Systems and Stratfor, all of which have already been publicly released and can be found through Web searches, said Mark Burnett, a Utah-based security consultant who has written several networking and security books.

Most of the passwords are likely invalid, and he has scrubbed other information such as domain names to make it unusable for hackers, Burnett said. Still, usernames or passwords found on the list that are still used should be changed.

The security concern around such a release is "something I didn't take lightly," Burnett said in a phone interview. "I don't want to put users at risk."

Burnett, who has studied password security for 15 years, said the data came from public sources. He's also been collecting leaked data using scripts that scrape forums, IRC, Usenet groups, Pastebin, torrent releases and other sources.

"This data is extremely valuable for academic and research purposes and for furthering authentication security," Burnett wrote in a blog post.

He devotes a large portion of his blog post discussing points of U.S. law that might apply to such a release, and why it is likely not a violation. Burnett said the release is not "technically illegal," but that doesn't mean law enforcement couldn't use it as a pretext for some other line of questioning.

Burnett compiled the data, cleaning it up and removing duplicate credentials. The result is a .txt file with the credentials, which is already being studied by those with an interest in it, he said.

The top 100 passwords used by people haven't really changed over the years, with the same weak ones appearing.

But that's not the only problem. With an overwhelming number of websites requiring registration, many people continue to reuse the same credentials over and over again, putting them at risk if a website has a data breach. Hackers often try to see if the credentials will work on other sites.

Send news tips and comments to Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags no companysecurity

More about Adobe Systems

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Jeremy Kirk

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place