Orange España, Spain’s second-biggest mobile operator, suffered a major outage on Wednesday after an unknown party obtained a “ridiculously weak” password and used it to access an account for managing the global routing table that controls which networks deliver the company's Internet traffic, researchers said.
The hijacking began around 9:28 Coordinated Universal Time (about 2:28 Pacific time) when the party logged into Orange’s RIPE NCC account using the password “ripeadmin” (minus the quotation marks). The RIPE Network Coordination Center is one of five Regional Internet Registries, which are responsible for managing and allocating IP addresses to Internet service providers, telecommunication organizations, and companies that manage their own network infrastructure. RIPE serves 75 countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia.
“Things got ugly”
The password came to light after the party, using the moniker Snow, posted an image to social media that showed the orange.es email address associated with the RIPE account. RIPE said it's working on ways to beef up account security.