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It took only one dusty, no-longer-used password for the DarkSide cybercriminals to breach the network of Colonial Pipeline Co. last month, resulting in a ransomware attack that caused significant disruption and remains under investigation by the U.S. government and cybersecurity experts. Attackers used the password to a VPN account that was no longer in use but still allowed them to remotely access Colonial Pipeline’s network, Charles Carmakal, senior vice president at FireEye’s cybersecurity consulting firm Mandiant, told Bloomberg in an interview, according to a published report on the news outlet’s website. The news once again highlights the importance of password security, as it comes on the heels of a separate report that hackers leaked the largest password collection to date – a 100 gigabyte file called “RockYou2021” containing 8.4 billion passwords – on a popular hacker forum earlier this week. Indeed, the password used for the Colonial attack also was discovered inside a batch of leaked passwords on the dark web, according to Bloomberg, and company officials and investigators are still unclear about how hackers obtained the password in the first place. “We don’t see any evidence of phishing for the employee whose credentials were used,” Carmakal told Bloomberg. “We have not seen any other evidence of attacker activity before April 29.” He speculated that perhaps the password may have gotten into the wrong hands when a Colonial employee used it on another account…

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