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Disclaimer: as technology changes, advisories may become out of date or may no longer be relevant, please refer to the "Date" section of the header to be sure the advisory is recent as pertains to your situation.

Digibase Security Advisory - RCN Stores Passwords Plaintext

Keywords: plaintext password, disclosure

DBSA ID: 2018-092201

Regarding: RCN Stores Passwords Plaintext

Writeup: Kradorex Xeron (talk) 22:13, 22 September 2018 (EDT)

Date: 2018 09 22

Last Modified: 20180922221358 by Kradorex Xeron

Who should take note: RCN Customers


Priority: HIGH

Rationale: RCN Customers should maintain continuous monitoring of the situation.

Severity: HIGH

Rationale: Plaintext password storage is a violation of fundamental security standards and plaintext password storage is treated with the same regard as password compromise.


Rationale: All RCN Customers are subject.


RCN is an Internet Services Provider (ISP) in the United States.

RCN has been identified to store passwords plaintext, without hashing in violation of security standards. The company has gone as far as to say that plaintext password storage is a matter of company policy, making the issue that much worse.

Further explanation

Under a correctly implemented system at a given company, passwords are run through a "hashing" computation where the user's password on their account is run through a mathematical computation similar to encryption. For a basic example the password "Fa9034dASc" via the "sha1" computation becomes "fe0b486852959dc2eb3af5c5c04c478d0f018817" which cannot be reversed. For login, the login password is run through the same mathematical computation and compared and at no time is the plaintext password stored. Attempts to use the hash itself to login is run through the computation again, providing a different result and fails.

RCN does not have this standard security implementation, meaning those with access to the password database can access any account.


RCN customers are advised that they should treat the passwords supplied to the company as compromised at this time. Further, RCN customers may wish to contact the company and insist the company transition to a one-way "hashing" password storage system.