Feeds

Data loss blights US military, Aussie bank, and Fox network

Butterfingers all round

SANS - Survey on application security programs

After a spate of data losses traced to the use of Winny filesharing software in various sensitive Japanese environments (military warships, hospitals, police departments), it has been reported that a Japanese police officer has been sacked over a disclosure where several thousand sensitive police records went missing from his system.

While there is some argument about the efficacy of this step, a number of senior officers are also facing scrutiny over the incident.

Unfortunately, major new disclosures continue to make news. US military personnel have again been affected by the loss of data from a service provider. This time, SAIC, a support services contractor, acknowledged that more than 500,000 serving military members could be at risk of identity theft after SAIC failed to adequately protect and transfer data (unencrypted and across the internet).

As more details were released after the initial disclosure, it became known that almost 900,000 personnel may have been affected, including family members and government employees.

In an admission that is concerning in the modern data risk management environment, SAIC admitted that the data at risk was stored completely unprotected on a single server at a smaller SAIC site. While the data was at risk during unprotected transmission across the internet, SAIC indicated that the disclosure took place while the data was being processed.

Even though the USAF alerted SAIC to the breach in late May, the information wasn't disclosed until much later.

While reporting of mass personal and financial data losses has largely been focused on North America, other countries are not unaffected by the problem. The Australian Westpac banking group has reissued thousands of Visa cards after a disclosure at an unnamed third party vendor.

Finally, after a curious web surfer discovered that Fox had left a number of their directories without no-index protection (i.e. entering the URL for that directory would lead to a list of the contents), a basic shell script was found that provided FTP access to a ZDNet server. While the disclosure of directory contents isn't much of a concern for most sites, the FTP account that was discovered provided access to records for around 1.5 million individuals, along with access to sensitive ZDNet business documents.

It has been reported that the hole has since been closed off, but in this instance the initial reporting and management of the discovery reflects poorly on the information security researchers who discovered it and publicised the discovery.

Even if the first set of people to be notified of the breach did not actually access the ZDNet server, the complete disclosure of the authentication parameters meant that someone would soon be poking around in the system for malicious purposes.

While ultimate responsibility for the disclosure rests with Fox, the incident displays a significant ethical lapse for the researchers involved (and for the wider industry - as the details were replicated across numerous sites without consideration for their sensitivity).

This article originally appeared at Sûnnet Beskerming

© 2007 Sûnnet Beskerming Pty. Ltd

Sûnnet Beskerming is an independent Information Security firm operating from the antipodes. Specialising in the gap between threat emergence and vendor response, Sûnnet Beskerming provides global reach with a local touch.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
Arts and crafts store Michaels says 3 million credit cards exposed in breach
Meanwhile, Target investigators prepare for long process in nabbing hackers
Canadian taxman says hundreds pierced by Heartbleed SSL skewer
900 social insurance numbers nicked, says revenue watchman
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.