KPN closes portal after two-thirds of corporate customers found using default password

Use of the default password, the same for many users, combined with an easily-guessed username, left corporate data at risk

KPN closed a self-service portal for corporate ADSL customers on Tuesday after it discovered that 120,000 of its 180,000 business clients were still using default passwords, all variants of "welkom01," a company spokesman said Friday.

The security vulnerability could have given unauthorized persons easy access to the corporate accounts, for which the corresponding usernames could be easily derived from the businesses' street addresses.

KPN said it was unaware that the vast majority of its 180,000 ADSL business clients were still using a default password for the online Customer Self Care portal.

Dutch IT news site Webwereld alerted KPN on Tuesday after a tip from Robert Schagen of Robert 4U IT, who discovered the security leak.

By continuing to use default passwords such as "welkom01," "welkom1" or "welkom001", customers risked unauthorized persons gaining access to their accounts, KPN said.

Corporate clients were provided with a default password to gain access to the online self care portal as a standard practice, but KPN did not make it mandatory to change the password, and so a lot of their customers never did.

Businesses' user names consist of their zip code and street number, said KPN spokesman Steven Hufton. And a list of KPN's corporate customers could easily be obtained by querying the database of the regional Internet registry, RIPE NCC, Webwereld reported.

With access to an account on the portal, it is possible to change a customer's contact email address and connection speed and turn services on and off, Hufton said. Besides that, the portal also contains bank account numbers and it is possible to change the password, giving malicious persons the opportunity to take over the account, Webwereld wrote.

"This is unacceptable," said Eddy Willems, security evangelist at G Data. KPN should have made it mandatory for users to change the default password when the account was activated, he said, calling KPN's use of default passwords a "very big security risk."

Other big companies have had similar problems in the past, said Willems, although it's happening less often because companies are becoming more and more aware of the importance of security. KPN's problem was probably an historical one, he said, adding that at the time of the implementation probably nobody thought about the consequences. While this is an easy problem to solve, companies should think of good security before they implement a system, and not afterwards, Willems said.

There was no indication that any unauthorized person ever gained access to a corporate account, KPN said. The portal was taken offline immediately after the company was notified on Tuesday afternoon and KPN reset the password of 140,000 accounts. Besides the 120,000 customers that were using the default passwords KPN discovered that about 20,000 corporate accounts reused their login name as a password. Customers were alerted via an email that explained the situation and provided instructions for creating a new, safe password, KPN said. The portal was put back online around midday on Thursday, the company added.

Loek covers all things tech for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Loek Essers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?