Stolen LinkedIn Passwords On Display as Art

roseofbattle

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Apr 18, 2011
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Stolen LinkedIn Passwords On Display as Art

Eight volumes of Forgot Your Password? contain all 4.7 million stolen LinkedIn passwords.

In a series of eight books, you and anyone else can look at LinkedIn users' passwords. Artist Aram Bartholl was able to find the 4.7 million stolen and leaked LinkedIn passwords from last year, which he compiled into Forgot Your Password?, a hardcover eight-volume set of 800 pages each that will travel to different galleries next year.

[gallery=1978]

The passwords are listed by themselves with no ties to usernames or real identities. The most entertaining part of Bartholl's art project is seeing how similar passwords can be. Listed in alphabetical order, a sample page shows long list of passwords all starting with "Noah." We can only wonder how many passwords are "password."

Forgot Your Password? has been shown at contemporary art gallery Carroll/Fletcher in London earlier this year, and it will be shown at Unpainted, a media art fair for new media art, early next year in Munich.

Before people start exclaiming, "This is art?!" it's important to understand a large part of modern art is up to the viewer to perceive. Passwords are private for a reason; no one puts their password on display, which is why the LinkedIn's security breach was a huge problem for the company. Seeing one's own password (hopefully changed by now) on display in an art gallery seems so odd, but it's an intimate detail of a person you don't know.

Perhaps Bartholl's next project should be a list of the NSA's hacks?

Source: Kotaku [http://datenform.de/forgot-your-password.html]


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JoJo

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I wish I could see this, if only to see if any of the stolen passwords were the same as ones I use on other sites.
 

Xan Krieger

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Feb 11, 2009
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I wanna see how many shitty ones people were using like "password" or "1234" or something similar. Sadly art museums are something I've only been to once as a school fieldtrip and art itself is not my strongpoint.
 

Groenteman

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Mar 30, 2011
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Interesting as this information might be, books are realy among the worst ways to display it.

Better would be to put it in a database and make a website to let people look up actual statistics. Such as 'most common passwords', 'most used first 6 characters' or 'proportions of lower case/upper case/numbers/symbols'. It might even educatate some users to not make such stupidly obvious passwords.

As for its artistic value... Its alphabetized database output in books. Aaaand thats it. Its not plastered on some shape, slab of stone out in public, some form of interactive medium, or anything that works with the irony of all this private information being out in public.
It is literaly a database query fed to a printing company. The only remarkablility is that this is possibly the least interesting way to display this information.

As for the good old argument of 'viewer perception', the same goes for jokes. That does not make any random string of words a joke. There has to be an actual reason for someone to perceive something as art. And maybe, just maybe, it should have some merit other than being realy full of itself.

TL;DR: Art is fart if all you can call it is art.
 

Alluos

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Sometimes I wonder if your average inter user's house was burned down by modern artists or something.
Granted not all of it is complete genius.
 

frizzlebyte

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Oct 20, 2008
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Groenteman said:
Interesting as this information might be, books are realy among the worst ways to display it.

Better would be to put it in a database and make a website to let people look up actual statistics. Such as 'most common passwords', 'most used first 6 characters' or 'proportions of lower case/upper case/numbers/symbols'. It might even educatate some users to not make such stupidly obvious passwords.

As for its artistic value... Its alphabetized database output in books. Aaaand thats it. Its not plastered on some shape, slab of stone out in public, some form of interactive medium, or anything that works with the irony of all this private information being out in public.
It is literaly a database query fed to a printing company. The only remarkablility is that this is possibly the least interesting way to display this information.

As for the good old argument of 'viewer perception', the same goes for jokes. That does not make any random string of words a joke. There has to be an actual reason for someone to perceive something as art. And maybe, just maybe, it should have some merit other than being realy full of itself.

TL;DR: Art is fart if all you can call it is art.
The way I see this is as a commentary on the less-than-tangible, yet all-too-real risks that we face in a digitally-connected society. Who could imagine, even twenty years ago, that a set of books containing random characters represents one of the most prominent risks that people face now, not just on Linkedin, but on every website that we use, reflecting every facet and interest of our lives? Doubly so because statistically speaking, some of these passwords were used on other websites.

Granted, a set of books is not a particularly inventive way of presenting them. Perhaps interactive in some form would have been better. But not a database; more like a digital wall where the viewer can scroll through the passwords, perhaps call up a random password, something like that.

So, yes, I would absolutely classify this as art. Sometimes it takes looking beyond the visual to get to the true meaning of the piece.
 

RA92

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Groenteman said:
Better would be to put it in a database and make a website to let people look up actual statistics.
Good thing they are not making a statistical database?
 

OldNewNewOld

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Mar 2, 2011
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Wait, since there are only 7 books, isn't that kinda making it easy to hack the accounts?
They already have the 4.7 million passwords.
Find a username and use bots to just try out all 4.7 million passwords.

Sure, it will take some time, but still much easier than actually hacking it from scratch.

Anyways, when did the security breach happen? I ave a LinkedIn account and I never got any e-mail telling me anything about this, or telling me to change my password.
 

Groenteman

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frizzlebyte said:
The way I see this is as a commentary on the less-than-tangible, yet all-too-real risks that we face in a digitally-connected society. Who could imagine, even twenty years ago, that a set of books containing random characters represents one of the most prominent risks that people face now, not just on Linkedin, but on every website that we use, reflecting every facet and interest of our lives? Doubly so because statistically speaking, some of these passwords were used on other websites.
I suppose our main difference of oppinion is mostly due to me completely lacking any interest in social media. To me the whole security breach incedent at linkedin is something akin to someone leaving the fence to the garbage dump open.

Its just a massive collection of pointless data. The real world loss was close to neglectable and mostly consisted of users having to come up with a new password and linkedin personel having to up their security policies.

No buildings burned down, noone dead or wounded, no ships sunken. If this artwork realy wanted to educate someone it would have highlighted how little consequence social media fallout has outside of peoples own minds.

...

But I suppose this is just me being weird. 99% of the (internet using) world considers social media the best thing since things were invented and are convinced they would physicaly DIE if someone used their facebook account to post pictures of their junk. Suppose to them this must be a realy scary thing then.

ALSO: ad captchas should die in fire.
 

Denamic

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Aug 19, 2009
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BiH-Kira said:
Wait, since there are only 7 books, isn't that kinda making it easy to hack the accounts?
They already have the 4.7 million passwords.
Find a username and use bots to just try out all 4.7 million passwords.

Sure, it will take some time, but still much easier than actually hacking it from scratch.
Are you implying that these books are making it easier to hack accounts? These are unique books that are being kept under surveillance. People would notice if they were gone. And it'd take weeks just to scan in the pages to use in a brute force script.
Seems kinda roundabout since they already exist on the internet anyway.

Brute force attacks generally don't work on online accounts anyway. They're extremely easy to detect and prevent. I mean, someone guessing a password a few million times should be pretty obvious.
 

frizzlebyte

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Oct 20, 2008
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Groenteman said:
I'm actually not a user of twitter and facebook, so that's not all I was talking about. I take this art project as a general commentary on the bizarre nature of the risks to our digital lives, and as such, to our own offline lives, such as online banking, online retail sites (where credit card info is stored), email (mine was actually hacked a few years ago, so this art project actually has some personal significance for me), and really any place where your personal info (and identity) is guarded by a mere password.

In addition, for the millions of people who use "cloud" storage to back up their personal mementos, like pictures of their kids (unwise, in my opinion, but it's a cat that's out of the bag now, so there's no turning back), the stealing of a password can be truly scary, as well.

For this art project, the Linkedin passwords are symbolic of the new risks that we face as a digital culture, risks that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago.
 

Athinira

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Jan 25, 2010
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Sseth said:
A pile of shit is a pile of shit no matter how many high brow twats perceive it as "art". This isn't art.

The fact that galleries are actually sponsoring this stuff is pathetic.
Just because you don't understand what art is, doesn't mean that something isn't art.

And even if it wasn't art, it definitely isn't 'pathetic', because there is actually an important lesson in this. And even if 'pathetic' WERE applicable in this situation (which it isn't), it would apply to the people who pay (with time, money or both) to go watch this, not the people who sponsor it. To pull up a good old Star Wars quote: "Who's the bigger fool? The fool himself, or the ones who follow him?" :eek:)
 

FalloutJack

Bah weep grah nah neep ninny bom
Nov 20, 2008
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Well, since art is such a subjective thing, I'm going to put my vote on the NO side of the discussion. Also, as soon as you think there's no way any of these could be someone's password, you check and you find about a million of 'em there.
 

Auberon

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Aug 29, 2012
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Modern art is made for spinning flowery prose around it. I see how frizzlebyte's exploration of this piece makes complete sense, but it can simultaneously be called not art at all.

In the security sense, they aren't linked to names, which to me would render them useless - brute-forcing those few million is not discreet shit, especially if it happened with equally many names. In this format, it's just a collection of barely related words.

Captcha: it is enough

Yes, it is enough to spark a conversation (among art critics and lovers too).
 

Andrew_C

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Mar 1, 2011
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Sseth said:
A pile of shit is a pile of shit no matter how many high brow twats perceive it as "art". This isn't art.

The fact that galleries are actually sponsoring this stuff is pathetic.
Anything can be art, your favourite coffee cup, well designed program code, an elegantly executed trolling. A good breakfast. Time Cube. Anything.
 

Atmos Duality

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Mar 3, 2010
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If Duchampe's Urinal (or Fountain) was "art", anything can be art. But maybe that's a bad example because Duchamp's Urinal actually had a point behind it.

I pull any number of interpretations of this book straight out of my ass and all of them be just as equally "valid" as any other, but I can do that of anything given enough time. So it doesn't necessarily make it worthwhile art.

frizzlebyte said:
For this art project, the Linkedin passwords are symbolic of the new risks that we face as a digital culture, risks that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago.
As valid as that sounds, that isn't exactly a profound statement.
Or maybe that's my bias talking, given my current career in the computer security business.
 

Hazzard

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Jan 25, 2012
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It seems like a fairly ovious thing to me. I'd like to see the list just to see if any of the passwords I use are on there.
 

Mutie

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Feb 2, 2009
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I believe this to be genius. A lot of modern art is just balls, but this is pretty sweet.