Half of government and military employees were using easily crackable passwords as of 2012, according to a report released Wednesday.
That’s only slightly better than the 52 percent of the general public that was using passwords that were far too weak at the time, according to the report from the cybersecurity firm WatchGuard.
The report authors analyzed a data dump of about 117 million encoded passwords that were pilfered from the career networking site LinkedIn in 2012 and posted online in 2016. Among those 117 million passwords, WatchGuard found about 350,000 passwords linked with a .gov or .mil email address.
In some cases, the LinkedIn hackers had already decoded those passwords and published them in plain text. In other cases, the passwords were stilled “hashed,” which means they were converted into a long string of characters using a system that is non-random but still supposed to make it very difficult to convert the string back into a plain text password.