Hacker cracks 'dead' password

Norwegian museum's database rescued

Norway's Ivar Aasen Centre of Language and Culture, which called for a hacker's help after the creator of its database died without passing on his password, has succeeded in getting into the system.

It took a 25 year-old Swedish hacker just five hours to work out that Reidar Djupedal, the creator of an electronic archive of books and documents, had simply used his name spelt backwards.

Ottar Grepstad, the Centre's director, told the Aftenposten newspaper: "It sounds simple now that we have the answer, but the database was created in an old program that few have now, and the public institutions we asked for help didn't manage to crack the code."

The incident sparked a serious debate among computer experts about how passwords should take care of.

In the Museum's case, the password was only the first step into the system. Accessing the database required another password, which turned out to be the researcher's first name.

With more than 11,000 titles it would have taken the Centre about four years to recreate the catalogue if it had failed to find the password.

News source: vnunet.com

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