Feeds

CCBill knew of credit database breach in March

Left its clients in the dark

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Now we know why CCBill was so terrified of taking verbal questions from a live reporter, and insisted instead on receiving faxed questions to which it could reply with canned responses.

As far back as March the company had warning that they were running an insecure CGI with their entire merchant database, including FTP/SSH logins and passwords, exposed to easy exploitation.

Anti-CC fraud outfit CardCops notified the company in a memo dated 13 March 2001 that one of their sources in the carding community had heard of the glitch.

CCBill silently removed the weak CGI, crossed their fingers, and hoped for the best. The company did not warn its clients that their servers could now be rooted effortlessly and their customers' credit details downloaded for posterity, to be traded in IRC.

And while CCBill merchants may not capture and store credit card data, many merchants use more than one processor, many of which do capture CC data. We can be confident that a great number of these Web sites have given up vast files full of consumers' personal and credit details, CardCops President Dan Clements points out.

The fact that the March warning came from outside the company should have alerted them that they had already been compromised, a painfully obvious conclusion even in the absence of further evidence such as reports of credit card abuse.

But the company covered up the breach, which only became public this week when an Ohio SP discovered IRC bots running on several of their customers' servers, and in each case the victim was a CCBill client whose machine had been accessed with the proper logins and passwords.

These servers weren't hacked in the sense that a security mechanism had been overcome; they were accessed illegally by a person or group who simply logged in as administrators. It's now safe to assume that all of CCBill's merchants have been exploited, and that any and all customer account details they store are in the possession of some malicious third party.

And this is the chief consequence of security through obscurity. Had CCBill notified all its clients immediately after learning of the original breach, it's quite possible that a number of them could have avoided exploitation. At this late date, however, all of CCBill clients have to assume the worst. There's been plenty of time for every single one of their Web servers to be exploited.

Almost two years ago we reported on CCBill's slack security practices and inflated claims to high levels of data safety. We have to assume that in all this time they haven't had a proper security audit, but are merely passing wind about their security consciousness to give their clients a false sense of safety.

If you're a CCBill merchant, then you're owed a detailed explanation far more thorough than the canned soft-pedal tripe the company issued on Thursday. We hope you'll demand it.

And if you're a customer of a CCBill merchant, then you'd better find out if they capture and store CC data on their server. It doesn't appear that the credit harvest from this breach has been abused yet, so there's time to cancel your card if you think you might be at risk. ®

Related Story

Porno paymaster CCBill hacked hard

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
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.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.