Feeds

Tory Party site ‘practically unhardened’ – a hacker playground

Any file on server browsable

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top three mobile application threats

The UK Conservative Party has been slammed for Internet naivety after it emerged that it hadn't taken even the most basic precautions to secure its Web server.

The site, Conservatives.com, surely a top target for crackers in the run-up to the UK general election on June 7, was left insecure to the extent that any file on its NT server was browsable.

Failure to apply security patches dating back well over a year, and covering flaws in Microsoft's IIS 4 server, meant the site has been left as a potential playground for s'kiddies.

Details of the many holes in the Tories security emerged after an anonymous hacker posted the results of a scan of the site to a Usenet discussion forum. The hacker, Killingtime, also published details of vulnerabilities present on the site on his home page.

Killingtime said he ran a scan of the Conservatives site after becoming irritated by a Tory election broadcast, which featured a prominent mention of the site's address.

He found a series of vulnerabilities, including a remote file browsing flaw, which could allow access to private files or database entries on the server to anyone with a browser. Left uncorrected these flaws mean, according to Killingtime, that it's "only a matter of time before their Web site is defaced".

Killingtime also questioned how the Tories could be trusted with the security of the country if they can't even secure their own Web server.

Richard Stagg, senior security architect at Information Risk Management, confirmed Killingtime's assessment that the site was insecure. He said the server was "practically unhardened" with even basic security patches and consequently vulnerable to even old exploits.

Stagg said the Tories had failed to follow Microsoft's advice on how to protect the Web server, which he described as particularly naive given the site is such a likely target for defacement.

The only good news for the Conservatives is that, according to Stagg, fixing the site will take relatively little work. He advised the Conservatives to review Microsoft's guide to securing IIS web servers. Good advice we hope the Tories will heed.

We contacted the Conservatives this morning to tell them of the problems with their site and to pass on Stagg's advice. We also told them we'd hold off publishing the story until 1700. Being generous, we gave them till then in GMT rather than BST. But given the urgency and the fact that it's already out in the circles that are most threatening, they'll have got it bolted down well before then. Right? ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.