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Fast Automated Processing and Evaluation of Identity Leaks

Abstract

The relevance of identity data leaks on the Internet is more present than ever. Almost every week we read about leakage of databases with more than a million users in the news. Smaller but not less dangerous leaks happen even multiple times a day. The public availability of such leaked data is a major threat to the victims, but also creates the opportunity to learn not only about security of service providers but also the behavior of users when choosing passwords. Our goal is to analyze this data and generate knowledge that can be used to increase security awareness and security, respectively. This paper presents a novel approach to the processing and analysis of a vast majority of bigger and smaller leaks. We evolved from a semi-manual to a fully automated process that requires a minimum of human interaction. Our contribution is the concept and a prototype implementation of a leak processing workflow that includes the extraction of digital identities from structured and unstructured leak-files, the identification of hash routines and a quality control to ensure leak authenticity. By making use of parallel and distributed programming, we are able to make leaks almost immediately available for analysis and notification after they have been published. Based on the data collected, this paper reveals how easy it is for criminals to collect lots of passwords, which are plain text or only weakly hashed. We publish those results and hope to increase not only security awareness of Internet users but also security on a technical level on the service provider side.

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Notes

  1. Identity Leak Checker—https://sec.hpi.de/ilc.

  2. State: Nov. 18th, 2016.

  3. BreachAlarm— https://breachalarm.com/.

  4. Survela—https://survela.com/.

  5. HaveIBeenPwned— https://haveibeenpwned.com/.

  6. sqlmap—http://sqlmap.org/.

  7. Slang term for documents, a listing of very specific personal information.

  8. Instance with 32 GB RAM, maximum of 32 cores (16 physical, 16 hyper-threaded) of Xeon E5-2630 v3.

  9. Each node is a virtual machine with 8GM RAM, 6 Cores of Xeon E5-2630 v3.

  10. https://hashcat.net/.

  11. http://www.openwall.com/john/.

  12. Vigilante.pw—https://vigilante.pw.

  13. Hashcat: Example hashes— https://hashcat.net/wiki/doku.php?id=example_hashes.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the students of our class “Dark Web Monitoring and Analysis of Leak Data” of the winter semester 2014/15 for their ideas on the topic and the work dedicated to implementation. We would also like to thank our student assistants Larissa Hoffäller and Marvin Thiele for their supportive work in the conducted experiments. Additionally, we appreciate the support of our colleagues Marian Gawron and Martin Ussath on certain research questions.

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Correspondence to David Jaeger.

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Jaeger, D., Graupner, H., Pelchen, C. et al. Fast Automated Processing and Evaluation of Identity Leaks. Int J Parallel Prog 46, 441–470 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10766-016-0478-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10766-016-0478-6

Keywords

  • Identity leak
  • Data breach
  • Automated parsing
  • Parallel processing