Weekly Wrap – 5th December 2013


0:53 – Former password for United States minuteman silo nuclear arsenal

1:27 – Most common password

1:48 – Information security reviews often too complex


Hi I am Tom McLeod, Managing Consultant of McLeod Governance.

This is what I would be thinking about this week.

This week I was reading a 1962 declassified memorandum from President Kennedy with regards to the security over the nuclear assets of the United States.

What was interesting wasn’t so much the memorandum itself but more so how it was enacted in practice.

Apparently for twenty years the password over the United States minuteman silo nuclear arsenal was – wait for it – eight zeroes.

The reason why it was eight zeroes was that it would allow rapid deployment in the event of there being an issue during the Cold War.

Today what I want to talk about is what is one of the most fundamental, basic but least examined areas of information security.

And that is – the password.

We all use it and we all have one – indeed many.

I read recently that the average number of passwords we have is something in the order of ten to fifteen.

The most common password is the number 1-2-3-4-5-6.  Not very imaginative is it!

Some from a risk and an audit perspective what are our responsibilities here?

Of course we should and always will be doing some form of information security reviews.

But often we try to make those reviews too complex when perhaps our greatest value to the business is to ensure that password security is just that.

For twenty years with the US nuclear arsenal one would suggest that it wasn’t.



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