Security Flub Exposes 32 Million Names, Passwords At Social App Site

Written by Fred J. Aun
December 16th, 2009

Weak security at, a social networking application development site, allowed unauthorized access to more than 32 million user log-in credentials stored in an unencrypted database, according to the site’s chief technology officer. The SQL injection flaw allowed access to those credentials, and because “the user names and passwords are by default the same as the user’s Webmail account—such as Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail—this is a major lapse in security,” said Amichai Shulman, the chief technology officer at Imperva, a data security vendor that detected the problem and alerted RockYou officials, but not before the data theft had happened.

RockYou publicly acknowledged the breach Wednesday (Dec. 15), warning users to change their log-in credentials for other “online destinations” if they are the same as those used for In a story on the incident, RockYou CTO Jia Shen said the problem involved RockYou’s legacy widget applications, a part of the site now closed, and he admitted the passwords had been retained unencrypted. Gartner Security Analyst Avivah Litan said retailers should view the case as a warning about the potential pitfalls of the single ID movement. “This just proves the theory that if you use an aggregator and have single sign-on to multiple sites, all it takes is a break-in to compromise your access to everything else,” Litan said. “Everybody should take a pause on these single-user schemes.”


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Why Did Gonzales Hackers Like European Cards So Much Better?

I am still unclear about the core point here-- why higher value of European cards. Supply and demand, yes, makes sense. But the fact that the cards were chip and pin (EMV) should make them less valuable because that demonstrably reduces the ability to use them fraudulently. Did the author mean that the chip and pin cards could be used in a country where EMV is not implemented--the US--and this mis-match make it easier to us them since the issuing banks may not have as robust anti-fraud controls as non-EMV banks because they assumed EMV would do the fraud prevention for them Read more...
Two possible reasons that I can think of and have seen in the past - 1) Cards issued by European banks when used online cross border don't usually support AVS checks. So, when a European card is used with a billing address that's in the US, an ecom merchant wouldn't necessarily know that the shipping zip code doesn't match the billing code. 2) Also, in offline chip countries the card determines whether or not a transaction is approved, not the issuer. In my experience, European issuers haven't developed the same checks on authorization requests as US issuers. So, these cards might be more valuable because they are more likely to get approved. Read more...
A smart card slot in terminals doesn't mean there is a reader or that the reader is activated. Then, activated reader or not, the U.S. processors don't have apps certified or ready to load into those terminals to accept and process smart card transactions just yet. Don't get your card(t) before the terminal (horse). Read more...
The marketplace does speak. More fraud capacity translates to higher value for the stolen data. Because nearly 100% of all US transactions are authorized online in real time, we have less fraud regardless of whether the card is Magstripe only or chip and PIn. Hence, $10 prices for US cards vs $25 for the European counterparts. Read more...
@David True. The European cards have both an EMV chip AND a mag stripe. Europeans may generally use the chip for their transactions, but the insecure stripe remains vulnerable to skimming, whether it be from a false front on an ATM or a dishonest waiter with a handheld skimmer. If their stripe is skimmed, the track data can still be cloned and used fraudulently in the United States. If European banks only detect fraud from 9-5 GMT, that might explain why American criminals prefer them over American bank issued cards, who have fraud detection in place 24x7. Read more...

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