KnuckleHead Passwords At HBO May Be The Culprit!

KnuckleHead Passwords At HBO May Be The Culprit!

Aug, 9th 2017

So what do these 4 senior HBO executives have in common?

Nina Rosenstein EVP, HBO Programming

Charles Schreger President, Programming Sales

Joe Tarulli EVP and Chief Financial Officer

Eve Konstan EVP & General Counsel

Answer: They all use plain text passwords. And they are putting the entire HBO corporate family at risk.

Per our research with PitchFork, a data base of billions of already compromised records, built by, plain text passwords are deadly. Take a look below at just a snippet of compromised passwords found out in the wild. Very few HBO employees appear to have ever used symbols along with numbers and characters in their passwords. Many use just "password" as a password. Eek's! 

When the hackers started their recon of HBO, it didn't take a genius to see all the plain text passwords and identify the weakest links. When they charged the HBO herd, the senior executives above would have lagged and clearly were candidates for a take down. We're hoping they don't have to "tap out" like Sony.

PitchFork Samples:

Mr. Schreger uses plain text passwords multiple times. It's not hard to track him into social media accounts and then craft a specific email phish dealing with his life particulars, with the goal of enticing him to click on a malicious link. Once inside his email or any senior HBO executive, hackers then could move laterally amongst his contacts, where they send trusted emails to colleagues. The King's Gate at King's Landing has thus been breached.

Ms. Rosenstein also uses multiple text based passwords. Again, possibly a high target for the hackers.

HBO Hero

In looking at over the 6000 compromised HBO accounts, not all the passwords were weak. We'd like to give a special shout out to Katrina Jackson, a tattoo artist and legal assistant at HBO. Your password is killer and has a high probability of never being cracked.


As we’ve seen with the billions of passwords in PitchFork, less than 5% of them have symbols with characters and numbers. That’s a pathetically small percentage and shows how the majority of the Internet stills uses lousy plain text passwords. That’s our fault for being lazy and trying to simplify our life. But that’s a gift for adversarial nation states, terrorists, and hostage takers. It would be advisable for all corporate personnel to use a password of at least 8 characters, with no dictionary found words, including symbols, and unique to each and every online account.

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