Feeds

Kaspersky hacker: Database exposed for days

Security Co. mum on Jedi mind trick

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Some 24 hours after a hacker claimed to hack a Kaspersky website and access a database containing proprietary customer information, the security provider issued a terse statement confirming it had experienced a security issue.

"On Saturday, February 7, 2009, a vulnerability was detected on a subsection of the usa.kaspersky.com domain when a hacker attempted an attack on the site," read the statement, which was released Sunday afternoon.

"The site was only vulnerable for a very brief period, and upon detection of the vulnerability we immediately took action to roll back the subsection of the site and the vulnerability was eliminated within 30 minutes of detection. The vulnerability wasn't critical and no data was compromised from the site."

That tells part of the story, but here's the part Kaspersky leaves out. According to an admin named Tocsixu at the site that exposed the breach, the hacker who originally discovered the vulnerability did so days earlier and only went public after getting no response from more discreet communiques with Kaspersky employees.

"I have sent emails to info@kaspersky.com, forum@kaspersky.com, and webmaster@kaspersky.com warning Kasperky [sic] about the problem but I didn't get any response," Unu, the hacker, said in an email. "After some time, still having no response from Kaspersky, I have published the article on hackersblog.org regarding the vulnerability."

Tocsixu also took issue with the characterization that the data wasn't actually compromised or that it wasn't critical.

"This vulnerability could have been critical if it were to be exploited by someone bad intended because several sensitive informations could have been extracted, like usernames, emails, passwords, codes, mysql users & passwords, etc.," Tocsixu told El Reg.

"Indeed, no data was compromised from the site because that is not Unu's (our) intention. No sensitive information from the site was stored, legit Kaspersky users can rest assured."

Kaspersky has repeatedly declined to provide details about the breach, including how long its website was vulnerable or exactly when it closed the vulnerability. It didn't respond to email requesting comment on Tocsixu's claims.

SQL injections are like Jedi mind tricks. With the wave of a hand and a discreetly placed suggestion - in this case SQL database commands buried deep inside a long URL - hackers are able to turn weak-minded websites against themselves. Often, the compromise is fairly innocuous and comes in the form of a simple site defacement. Not so with the SQL injection that visited Kaspersky.

It allowed any Jedi knight who knew the secret passphrase to trick the website into dumping entire tables in its database.

"This was a typical UNION injection attack that enables SELECT statements to be poisoned with information from foreign tables," according to one Reg reader account that was confirmed by Tocsixu.

The reader, who was able to duplicate the attack Unu laid out here, continued:

"Once you find the number of columns in the initial SELECT statement (using ORDER BY injection attacks) you can basically get access to the information_schema database, find out table and column names and then you're home free. Big whoopsie for Kaspersky. This was active the entire day yesterday [Saturday]."

No doubt, it's been a tough week for Kaspersky, and it sure didn't help that many of the company's employees happened to be in Puerto Rico this weekend for a partner conference. But Kaspersky does itself no favors by being so stingy with details of this attack. And as is now clear, hackers bearing proof of the pwnage are more than willing to do the talking. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?