Editing 792: Password Reuse

Jump to: navigation, search

Warning: You are not logged in. Your IP address will be publicly visible if you make any edits. If you log in or create an account, your edits will be attributed to your username, along with other benefits.

The edit can be undone. Please check the comparison below to verify that this is what you want to do, and then save the changes below to finish undoing the edit.
Latest revision Your text
Line 1: Line 1:
 
{{comic
 
{{comic
 
| number    = 792
 
| number    = 792
| date      = September 13, 2010
+
| date      =  
 
| title    = Password Reuse
 
| title    = Password Reuse
| image    = password_reuse.png
+
| image    = http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/password_reuse.png
 
| titletext = It'll be hilarious the first few times this happens.
 
| titletext = It'll be hilarious the first few times this happens.
 
}}
 
}}
  
 
==Explanation==
 
==Explanation==
This comic has three layers: hacking, philosophy, and Google-satire.
+
This comic has three layers: hacking, morals, and Google-bashing.
  
It starts off on a practical level, with [[Black Hat]] describing to [[Cueball]] a devious social engineering scheme. It relies on the fact that people commonly reuse the same password on multiple websites, and tend to create accounts on new websites somewhat indiscriminately. Thus, one could create a simple Web service to collect users' usernames, email addresses, and passwords. Since many users will reuse this combination on other websites as well, the website owner can try to hack their accounts on other common sites, such as {{w|Amazon.com|Amazon}}, {{w|PayPal}} or even people's banks, using the same login information.
+
It starts off on a practical level, with Black Hat describing a devious social engineering scheme. It relies on the fact that people commonly reuse the same password on multiple websites, and tend to create accounts on new websites somewhat indiscriminately. Thus, one could create a simple Web service to collect users' usernames, email addresses, and passwords. Since many users will reuse this combination on other websites as well, the website owner can try to hack their accounts on other common sites, such as Amazon or PayPal, using the same login info.
  
In panel 7, the comic suddenly develops a philosophical and ethical bent. Black Hat reveals that he has already carried out step 1, through his numerous unprofitable Web services which he had been running for this very purpose. However, after successfully executing the hack, he realizes that he does not know what to do with all this power.
+
In panel 6, the comic suddenly develops a philosophical and ethical bent. Black Hat reveals that he has already carried out step 1, through his numerous unprofitable Web services which he had been running for this very purpose. However, after successfully executing the hack, he realizes that he does not know what to do with all this power.
 +
He reveals that he is already financially self-sufficient, and makes a point that money can't buy happiness.
 +
He could use his power to realize his sadistic pleasures of messing with people, but he's already a serial classhole.
 +
If he had any beliefs or ideology, he could use this power to try to spread them. However, he reveals that "since March of 1997" he doesn't really have anything to share.
 +
The dilemma: Black Hat has cleverly executed a hack that has given him a lot of power, but he doesn't know what to do with it.
  
He reveals that he is already financially self-sufficient, and makes a point that money can't buy happiness once past that point, he even states that research has proven this. He could use his power to realize his sadistic pleasures of messing with people, but he's already a serial [[72: Classhole|classhole]] and does not need this information to continue that trend.  
+
The last part of the comic now transitions to a satire on how Google has already gone through both the stages described above. It describes how all of Google's free services are simply a ploy to collect and control all the world's information, similar in concept but grander than the hack described in part 1. It satirizes the fact that behind Google's "Don't be evil" motto is actually an end-goal of using their powers eventually for evil. However, just like Black Hat, once Google reaches the stage where they are able to capitalize on their powers, they find that there is nothing evil left for them to desire. They already make a lot of money, and anything remaining that they wish to do, such as throwing {{w|Call of Duty|CoD}} tournaments, aren't evil at all.
  
If he had any beliefs or ideology, he could use this power to try to spread them. However, he reveals that "since {{w|March_1997#March|March of 1997}}" he doesn't really believe in anything. While he doesn't reveal specifically what in March of 1997 caused this, it could possibly refer to the {{w|Heaven's Gate (religious group)#Mass suicide and aftermath|March 26, 1997 incident}} in San Diego, California, where 39 {{w|Heaven's Gate (religious group)|Heaven's Gate}} cultists committed mass suicide at their compound. One of the cultists was the brother of {{w|Nichelle Nichols}} (a {{w|Star Trek}} actress), so the event got a big resonance in nerd circles (and [[Randall]] [[:Category:Star Trek|often references Star Trek]] in xkcd). However, given Black Hat's strange behavior, it could be anything, even {{w|Bill Clinton}} banning federal funding for {{w|human cloning}} research. Later, in [[1717: Pyramid Honey]], Black Hat seems to finally find something to believe in.
+
In the conclusion, Black Hat reveals that the only thing he's doing with all his hacked user accounts is to post slightly inaccurate content on Wiki sites.
 
 
The dilemma: Black Hat has cleverly executed a hack that has given him a lot of power, but he doesn't know what to do with it.
 
 
 
The last part of the comic now transitions to a satire on how {{w|Google}} has already gone through both the stages described above. It describes how all of Google's free services are simply a ploy to collect and control all the world's information, similar in concept but grander than the hack described in part 1. It satirizes the notion that behind Google's "Don't be evil" motto is actually an end-goal of using their powers eventually for evil.
 
 
 
However, just like Black Hat, once Google reaches the stage where they are able to capitalize on their powers, the Cueball-like head-executive finds that there is nothing evil left for them to desire, except (as [[Hairbun]] states) make even more money. As they already make a lot of money this ploy is moot, and anything remaining that they wish to do, such as hosting {{w|Call of Duty}} (CoD) tournaments, isn't evil at all.
 
 
 
In the end the secretary calls dibs on the TV in the lobby in order to play CoD4 on what (one can assume) is a large screen. The Cueball-like executive who wished to implement the evil plan in the first place {{w|facepalm|facepalms}} when he realizes that Google just sucks at being evil.
 
 
 
In the title text, “The first few times this happens” may refer to the weekly CoD4 “tournament.” Alternatively, it could also mean the “first few times” a company decides to turn evil (but then has no idea how). It could also refer to the first couple of times an individual follows through on this plan, but fails after the first part due to lack of planning for the second part.
 
 
 
This comic was directly referenced in the title text of [[1286: Encryptic]].
 
  
 
==Transcript==
 
==Transcript==
:[Black Hat is standing to the left behind Cueball, who is sitting in an office chair at his desk working on his computer. A message from the computer is indicated with a zigzag line from the screen.]
+
<!-- The transcript can be found in a hidden <div> element on the xkcd comic's html source, with id "transcript".
 +
  -- Tip: Use colons (:) in the beginning of lines to preserve the original line breaks.
 +
  -- Any actions or descriptive lines in [[double brackets]] should be reduced to [single brackets] to avoid wikilinking
 +
  -- Do not include the title text again here -->
 +
:[Cueball at a computer with Black Hat behind him.]
 
:Black Hat: Password entropy is rarely relevant. The real modern danger is password reuse.
 
:Black Hat: Password entropy is rarely relevant. The real modern danger is password reuse.
 
:Cueball: How so?
 
:Cueball: How so?
:Computer: <small>Password too weak</small>
+
:Computer: Password too weak.
  
:[Zoom in on Black Hat's upper part as he holds a hand up with the palm up.]
 
 
:Black Hat: Set up a Web service to do something simple, like image hosting or tweet syndication, so a few million people set up free accounts.
 
:Black Hat: Set up a Web service to do something simple, like image hosting or tweet syndication, so a few million people set up free accounts.
  
:[Zoom out to Black Hat standing in front of Cueball who has turned in the chair facing Black Hat, the desk is not shown in the panel.]
 
 
:Black Hat: Bam, you've got a few million emails, default usernames, and passwords.
 
:Black Hat: Bam, you've got a few million emails, default usernames, and passwords.
  
:[Only Black Hat is shown as he holds out his arms.]
 
 
:Black Hat: Tons of people use one password, strong or not, for most accounts.
 
:Black Hat: Tons of people use one password, strong or not, for most accounts.
  
:[The next panel is only half the height of the other panels. Above the panel is the text that Black Hat narrates. In the left part of the panel there is a piece of paper that seems to have been torn of at the bottom with resulting in a jagged edge, could also indicate that it continues further down than shown. On the paper there is three labeled columns, and below each of them about 18 lines of unreadable sentences (mostly just one word). The @ in the e-mail addresses may be indicated with a larger unreadable sign. To the right a broad line goes right from the paper and splits up in five lines that goes up or down ending in five arrows to the right pointing at five labels.]
+
:[Diagram showing a table of emails, usernames, and passwords.]
:Black Hat (narrating): Use the list and some proxies to try automated logins to the 20 or 30 most popular sites, plus banks and PayPal and such.
+
:Black Hat: Use the list and some proxies to try automated logins to the 20 or 30 most popular sites, plus banks and PayPal and such.
:Labels on paper: Email User Pass
 
:Labels at arrows:
 
::Banks
 
::Facebook
 
::Gmail
 
::PayPal
 
::Twitter
 
  
:[Same setting as panel 3 but Cueball has taken a hand to his chin.]
 
 
:Black Hat: You've now got a few hundred thousand real identities on a few dozen services, and nobody suspects a thing.
 
:Black Hat: You've now got a few hundred thousand real identities on a few dozen services, and nobody suspects a thing.
 
:Cueball: And then what?
 
:Cueball: And then what?
  
:[Same setting in a larger panel with more white space to the left, Cueball has his hand down again.]
 
 
:Black Hat: Well, that's where I got stuck.
 
:Black Hat: Well, that's where I got stuck.
 
:Cueball: You did this?
 
:Cueball: You did this?
:Black Hat: Why do you '''''think''''' I hosted so many unprofitable web services?
+
:Black Hat: Why do you ''think'' I hosted so many unprofitable web services?
  
:[Zoom in on Black Hat's head now turned towards left.]
 
 
:Black Hat: I could probably net in a lot of money, one way or another, if I did things carefully. But research shows more money doesn't make people happier, once they make enough to avoid day-to-day financial stress.
 
:Black Hat: I could probably net in a lot of money, one way or another, if I did things carefully. But research shows more money doesn't make people happier, once they make enough to avoid day-to-day financial stress.
  
:[Zooming a bit out, but still only showing Black Hat's head in the bottom right corner, again facing right.]
 
 
:Black Hat: I could mess with people endlessly, but I do that already. I could get a political or religious idea out to most of the world, but since March of 1997 I don't really believe in anything.
 
:Black Hat: I could mess with people endlessly, but I do that already. I could get a political or religious idea out to most of the world, but since March of 1997 I don't really believe in anything.
  
:[This panel is the last in this row, but it does not reach the end of the row above, an indication that this do not directly belong to the panels below. Same setting as panel 3 but Black Hat has his arms out.]
 
 
:Black Hat: So, here I sit, a puppetmaster who wants nothing from his puppets.
 
:Black Hat: So, here I sit, a puppetmaster who wants nothing from his puppets.
 
:Black Hat: It's the same problem Google has.
 
:Black Hat: It's the same problem Google has.
 
:Cueball: Oh?
 
:Cueball: Oh?
  
:[This panel is the first in the last row. It does not begin to the left, but has been shifted a bit to the right, just as the last panel above tot he right, ended before reaching the right edge of the row above (and this one below). This is to indicate that this is row has a different story. A Cueball-like executive at Google is standing up leaning his arms on a table with Google's logo on the side. His office chair has been pushed to the left behind him and it is partly off-panel. He addresses the other executives at the table, two of which are shown. The first is Hairbun with glasses holding her head with both hands, elbows resting on the table. The other executive is also a Cueball-like guy, his head is partly outside the right edge of the panel. At the top of the panel to the left there is a small frame breaking the panels frame, inside it there is a caption:]
+
:[A meeting at Google headquarters. An executive is talking to some others.]
 
:Google...
 
:Google...
:Cueball executive: Okay, everyone, we control the world's information. Now it's time to turn evil. What's the plan?
+
:Executive 1: Okay, everyone, we control the world's information. Now it's time to turn evil. What's the plan?
:Hairbun: Make boatloads of money?
+
:Executive 2: Make boatloads of money?
:Table: Google
 
  
:[Only the Cueball-like executive standing at the end of the tabe is shown, the table is left out. He is face-palming. One of the executives at the table is speaking off-panel. Could be either of the two above, or someone not shown before]
+
:Executive 1: We already do!
:Cueball executive: We already do!
+
:Executive 2 (off-panel): Set up a companywide CoD4: Modern Warfare tournament each week?
:Executive (off-panel): Set up a companywide CoD4: Modern Warfare tournament each week?
+
:Executive 1: ''That's not evil!''
:Cueball executive: ''That's not evil!''
+
:Executive 2: Ooh, dibs on the lobby TV!
:Executive (off-panel): Ooh, Dibs on the lobby TV!
+
:Executive 1: Okay, we ''suck'' at this.
:Cueball executive: Okay, we ''suck'' at this.
 
  
 
{{comic discussion}}
 
{{comic discussion}}
 
+
<!-- Include any categories below this line-->
[[Category:Comics featuring Cueball]]
 
[[Category:Comics featuring Black Hat]]
 
[[Category:Comics featuring Hairbun]]
 
[[Category:Multiple Cueballs]]
 
[[Category:Social networking]]
 
[[Category:Video games]]
 
[[Category:Computer security]]
 

Please note that all contributions to explain xkcd may be edited, altered, or removed by other contributors. If you do not want your writing to be edited mercilessly, then do not submit it here.
You are also promising us that you wrote this yourself, or copied it from a public domain or similar free resource (see explain xkcd:Copyrights for details). Do not submit copyrighted work without permission!

To protect the wiki against automated edit spam, we kindly ask you to solve the following CAPTCHA:

Cancel | Editing help (opens in new window)