Investment and stock trading app Robinhood stored some user credentials, including passwords, in plaintext on internal systems, the company revealed today. This particularly dangerous security misstep could have seriously exposed its users, though it says that it has no evidence the data was accessed improperly. Better change your password now.
Sensitive data like passwords and personal information are generally kept encrypted at all times. That way if the worst came to pass and a company’s databases were exposed, all the attacker would get is a bunch of gibberish. Unfortunately it seems that there might have been a few exceptions to that rule.
A number of users, including CNET’s Justin Cauchon, received the following notice from Robinhood in an email:
When you set a password for your Robinhood account, we use an industry-standard process that prevents anyone at our company from reading it. On Monday night, we discovered that some user credentials were stored in a readable format within our internal systems. We wanted to let you know that your password may have been included.
We resolved this issue, and after thorough review, found no evidence that this information was accessed by anyone outside of our response team.
It seems that if it were truly “industry-standard,” then the rest of the industry would also have stored passwords in plaintext. Come to think of it, that would explain a lot, since Google, Facebook, Twitter, and others have all managed to make this same mistake recently.
A Robinhood representative stressed the rapidity of the company’s response to the issue, though they would not comment on how it was first discovered, nor how long the data was stored that way, nor what deviation from these industry norms caused the problem, nor how many users were affected, nor whether answers to these questions would ever be forthcoming. They did offer the following statement:
We swiftly resolved this information logging issue. After a thorough review, we found no evidence that this customer information was accessed by anyone outside of our response team. Out of an abundance of caution, we have notified customers who may have been impacted and encouraged them to reset their passwords. We take our responsibility to customers seriously and place an immense focus on working to ensure their information is secure.
If you got an email, you were among the unlucky
few many majority handful some, so change your password. If you didn’t get an email… also change your password. You can never be too careful.