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Great Minds Think Alike (But Fools Seldom Differ)

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September 25, 2020

In 2016 a group of ethical hackers in the Netherlands were looking through a password database that had leaked out of LinkedIn a few years before. They discovered a “hashed” password that belonged to one donaldtrump@trump.com. After using a program called John the Ripper – a tool that hackers use to crack hashes – they extracted the password in less than a second: yourefired. This meant that Trump had not changed his password after the widely-publicized LinkedIn hack of 2013, even though he was running for President. They entered the correct email address for the account (twitter@donaldjtrump.com) and were blocked from accessing the account, but only because Twitter saw that they were trying to log in from Europe, and The Donald had logged in from New York a short time ago. The author of the article cites this as an example of the folly of using the same weak password in multiple places online, especially if you’re a “brand” associated with a catchphrase that then becomes your password. Trump at least doesn’t pretend to be a tech wizard, but Mark Zuckerberg does, and he infamously used the same password (“dadada”) on several of his social media accounts. Hackers exploited that lapse in judgement in 2016.

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