Ramblings & ephemera

Bad passwords for SSH

From Christian Seifert’s “Analyzing malicious SSH login attempts” (SecurityFocus: 11 September 2006):

First, we analyzed the login names that were used on the login attempts. During the sample period, there were 2741 unique account names ranging from common first names, system account names, and common accounts to short alphabetical strings captured by the system logger. Of those, the 15 account names used most often are shown in Table 1. This table shows accounts that usually exist on a system (root, mysql), accounts that are likely to exist on a system (guest, test), as well as common first names (paul). Then Figure 1 shows the distribution of valid and invalid account names that were used.

Account Name Number of login attempts
root 1049
admin 97
test 87
guest 40
mysql 31
info 30
oracle 27
postgres 27
testing 27
webmaster 27
paul 25
web 24
user 23
tester 22
pgsql 21

Table 1. Top 15 account names among 2741 attempts.

Next, we looked at the passwords used in the login attempts. The attackers tried a range of passwords with most of the account names. In total during our analysis, they attempted to access 2741 different accounts and used 3649 different passwords. Not all passwords were used with all accounts. The passwords ranged from account names, account names with number sequences, number sequences, and keyboard sequences (like ‘qwerty’). There were a few more complex passwords used with seemingly random letter and number sequences or common substitution passwords (like r00t or c@t@lin).

Table 2 shows the top 15 passwords used in malicious login attempts.

Password Number of login attempts
123456 331
Password 106
Admin 47
Test 46
111111 36
12345 34
administrator 28
Linux 23
Root 22
test123 22
1234 21
123 20
Mysql 19
Apache 18
Master 18

Table 2. Top 15 passwords attempted.

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