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Tech & Science Google stored some passwords in plain text for fourteen years

04:11  22 may  2019
04:11  22 may  2019 Source:   theverge.com

Your most sensitive data is likely exposed online. These people try to find it

Your most sensitive data is likely exposed online. These people try to find it Don’t worry. They want it to be safe.

Google disclosed that it recently discovered a bug that caused some portion of G Suite users to have their passwords stored in plain text . The bug has been around since 2005, though Google says that it can’t find any evidence that anybody’s password was improperly accessed.

Oops, Google said on Tuesday: you know that domain administrator’s tool to reset passwords in the G Suite enterprise product? People using the free, consumer version weren’t affected. Google ’s notified a subset of its enterprise G Suite customers that some of their passwords were stored in plaintext

Google stored some passwords in plain text for fourteen years© Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

In a blog post today, Google disclosed that it recently discovered a bug that caused some portion of G Suite users to have their passwords stored in plain text.

The bug has been around since 2005, though Google says that it can’t find any evidence that anybody’s password was improperly accessed.

It’s resetting any passwords that might be affected and letting G Suite administrators know about the issue.

G Suite is the corporate version of Gmail and Google’s other apps, and apparently the bug came about in this product because of a feature designed specifically for companies.

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Though the passwords were stored in plain text , they were at least stored in plain text inside Google ’s servers, so they’d be Although Google didn’t say so explicitly, it seems like it wants to also make sure people don’t lump this bug in the same category as other plain text password problems

G Suite users were taken aback yesterday when Google disclosed that it stored some passwords for Enterprise G Suite users in plain text for 14 years . In a blog post, the search giant mentioned that the passwords were encrypted but not hashed , which means that Google employees had complete

Early on, it was possible for your company administrator for G Suite apps to set user passwords manually — say, before a new employee came on board — and if they did, the admin console would store those passwords in plain text instead of hashing them. Google has since removed that capability from administrators.

Google’s post goes to great pains to explain how cryptographic hashing works, likely in an effort to make sure the nuances surrounding this breach are clear.

Though the passwords were stored in plain text, they were at least stored in plain text inside Google’s servers, so they’d be harder to get to than if they were just out on the open internet.

Google stored some passwords in plain text for fourteen years

Google stored some passwords in plain text for fourteen years Only affects some G Suite customers

Though the passwords were stored in plain text , they were at least stored in plain text inside Google ’s servers, so they’d be The social network's handling of user data has been a flashpoint for controversy since it admitted last year that Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy, used an app

passwords stored in plain text and searchable by thousands of Facebook employees — in some cases going back to 2012, KrebsOnSecurity has learned. of security failures in which employees built applications that logged unencrypted password data for Facebook users and stored it in plain text .

Although Google didn’t say so explicitly, it seems like it wants to also make sure people don’t lump this bug in the same category as other plain text password problems where those passwords have leaked out.

Google has already made users reset their passwordsAnd oh, there have been so many of those, as Wired notes.

Twitter advised all 330 million of its users to change passwords back in March due to a breach.

Facebook stored “hundreds of millions” of passwords in plain text in a way where up to 20,000 of its employees could have accessed them. Instagram had to fess up that Facebook’s breach had actually affected millions of Instagram users (not the previously disclosed smaller number).

For its part, Google didn’t characterize just how many users might have been affected by this bug beyond saying it affected “a subset of our enterprise G Suite customers” — presumably anybody who was using G Suite in 2005.

And though Google couldn’t find evidence that anybody used this access maliciously, it’s not entirely clear who would have had access to these plain text files either.

In any case, it’s fixed now and Google is appropriately sorry in its post about the whole issue:

We take the security of our enterprise customers extremely seriously, and pride ourselves in advancing the industry’s best practices for account security. Here we did not live up to our own standards, nor those of our customers. We apologize to our users and will do better.

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