FW: SECURITY NOTICE: insecure passwords on your machine

Mary Tang mtang at snf.stanford.edu
Mon Dec 6 06:59:33 PST 2004

Hi all --

Although I know little about these machines, it seems to me that they 
have "bad" passwords because they are general-use machines -- they were 
set up so that anyone who takes a picture on the SEM or the microscope 
can upload their data on the network.  However, the network security 
concerns are serious.  We have this problem (or may have) on other 
systems in the lab as well.  It seems to me that we have a couple of 
ways to approach this:

1.  Choose better account names and passwords and post these at the 
station.  This is presuming that the security problem is from "outside" 
rather than "inside" the lab.
2.  Take the systems off the network.  We should then upgrade these 
systems to accomodate USB keys or other the media of choice.  (This is 
what we did for the CAD PC's.)

Any other suggestions?


Dick Crane wrote:

>I'll have them changed tomorrow.
>Michael Bell wrote:
>>Mary and Dick,
>>I wasn't sure who was responsible for setting the passwords on these two
>>pieces of equipment, but it appears as though these are general passwords
>>that are well known and used by a number of people. It would probably make
>>sense to change both the user "USER" and the password before redistributing
>>the information. There is a link below that talks about making good
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: Information Security [mailto:security at stanford.edu]
>>Sent: Wednesday, December 01, 2004 6:39 PM
>>To: michael.bell at stanford.edu
>>Subject: SECURITY NOTICE: insecure passwords on your machine
>>Dear michael.bell at stanford.edu,
>>The Stanford campus has been experiencing a series of attacks by viruses
>>that take advantage of computer accounts with weak passwords.  Below is
>>a list of Windows computers that have been found to have one or more
>>accounts with blank or easily guessed passwords.  You are listed as an
>>administrative contact for these machines (or at least the most recent
>>person to have been associated with them).
>>IP Address      Machine Name                 Vulnerable Accounts
>>==============  ===========================
>>   snf-sem.Stanford.EDU         User 'USER' has password 'snf'
>>  snf-microscope.Stanford.EDU  User 'USER' has password
>>To protect your computers and those around you, it is very important
>>that you set good passwords for *all* the accounts on these machines (the
>>list provided is not guaranteed to be complete).  For more information on
>>setting good quality passwords, see:
>>Setting a good password before a break-in takes only a few seconds.
>>Rebuilding a system after a break-in can take hours, and your lost
>>data may not be recoverable at all.  A small preventive effort will
>>significantly lower the possiblity that your machine will be compromised
>>and will greatly improve the security of the entire Stanford network.
>>Thank you for helping to secure Stanford's computing environment.
>>David Hoffman
>>Information Security

Mary X. Tang, Ph.D.
Stanford Nanofabrication Facility
CIS Room 136, Mail Code 4070
Stanford, CA  94305
mtang at stanford.edu

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