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Security cert body gives lesson in insecurity

(ISC)2 contact database left wide open

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Security certification and training body (ISC)2 has apologised for a serious security breach which saw the personal details of thousands of respondents to a survey posted onto an insecure server.

Phone numbers, email and contact addresses for many of the estimated 20,000 respondents to (ISC)2 Constituent Survey were easily available on the site because of lax security for a short time towards the end of last week. The data was unencrypted and left open to harvesting through simple URL manipulation despite a promise from (ISC)2 to survey participants that "your answers and feedback will be kept strictly confidential and will not be associated with you, your organization, or your employer". It was also possible to modify the information filled in, according to a Register reader, who sent us a sample of data (home and work addresses and phone numbers) to back up his concerns.

Upon hearing about the problem, (ISC)2 responded quickly by closing the survey site. The survey was re-opened on Tuesday after coders closed up the gapping security loophole. It’s unclear whether any sensitive data got into the wrong hands as a result of the cock-up.

(ISC)2 has issued a statement explaining its handling of the problem: "In the few hours after (ISC)2's annual Constituent Survey 2004 was distributed by its survey vendor last Thursday, several constituents alerted (ISC)2 that the survey had a potential vulnerability which, under the right circumstances, could reveal a respondent's name and survey answers. The survey was shut down immediately and all survey data was locked down. The issue has been resolved and the survey was re-opened on Tuesday."

"This is an internal survey of (ISC)2 constituents who are certified information security professionals bound by the (ISC)2 Code of Ethics. (ISC)2 is investigating the matter with its survey vendor. We apologize to our constituents for any inconvenience," it added. ®

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