A breakdown of the 18 most common passwords exposed by IEEE suggest that engineers aren’t much better than lay people at choosing secure passcodes.

The world’s largest professional organization for computer engineers exposed user names, plaintext passwords, and website activity for almost 100,000 of its members, some of whom are employees of Apple, Google, IBM, and other large companies.

The sensitive information was contained in 100 gigabytes worth of website logs that were publicly available for at least a month on servers maintained by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, according to a blog post published by a recent graduate and current teaching assistant at the University of Copenhagen. The 99,979 unique user names Radu Dragusin said he found in the cache comprises about 24 percent of 411,000 members counted in the 2011 IEEE Annual Report.

“It is certainly unfortunate this information was leaked out, and who knows who got it before it got fixed,” Dragusin wrote. Elsewhere in the post he said: “If leaving an FTP directory containing 100GB worth of logs publicly open could be a simple mistake in setting access permissions, keeping both usernames and passwords in plaintext is much more troublesome.”

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via Ars Technica » Technology Lab http://feeds.arstechnica.com/~r/arstechnica/technology-lab/~3/4-GoG9ssaj0/