http://spyglass1.sjmercury.com/breaking/docs/043153.htm Posted at 9:58 a.m. PDT Thursday, August 13, 1998 Thousands of passwords accessed by cyber prowler BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- Using an Internet program called ``John the Ripper,'' a hacker has broken into computer accounts at universities and companies around the world to steal encrypted passwords. 'John The Ripper' does not help in breaking into a network. It only cracks passwords obtained once the intruder or admin have access to the system. The FBI is investigating the case, in which 48,000 passwords were decoded from a list of 186,000. Authorities believe the hacker is operating from somewhere in Europe because the first known case involved computers at European universities. From there, the hacker reportedly broke into accounts at a Silicon Valley company, an Internet service provider in Indiana, the University of California at Berkeley, UCLA, the California Institute of Technology, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. ``The technology he was using is not sophisticated, but what's interesting here is the scope,'' said Doug Tygar, a computer expert at Carnegie Mellon University who will join the UC Berkeley faculty this fall. ``I'm impressed by his persistence to keep something running for that long,'' Tygar told the San Francisco Chronicle in a story published today. ``The stamina to collect this number of passwords is pretty awe-inspiring.'' The cyber intruder apparently did not seek out classified information or break into government accounts, but trotted the globe electronically for passwords in a quest for greater access. He or she gained access to the Internet through Telenordia, an Internet service provider in Sweden, and left a computer trail through England, Denmark and South Korea. The hacker was not detected until June 29, when a graduate student told UC Berkeley officials his account had been broken into. Two other high-profile incidents have also renewed concerns about computer security. In March, hackers attacked computer nationwide running Microsoft network software at NASA, the Navy and colleges. Last month, two Cloverdale teens pleaded guilty to hacking to U.S. government computers.