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Kaspersky: no personal information lifted during web hack

Vows independent audit by security expert

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Anti-virus provider Kaspersky Lab on Monday moved to reassure customers that none of their personal information was accessed during a 10-day security lapse that exposed a database used to run a support site for its US users.

The company also apologized for the blunder and said it was bringing in database security expert David Litchfield to conduct an independent audit of Kaspersky's website and to publicly share his findings.

Monday's mea culpa came as Unu, the same hacker to expose Kaspersky's faulty website, posted a new blog post claiming a Portuguese website for anti-virus provider Bitdefender was similarly at risk. Bitdefender representatives didn't immediately respond to emails requesting comment.

"This is not good for any company and especially a company dealing with security," Kaspersky's senior anti-virus researcher Roel Schouwenberg said during a conference call with reporters. "This should not have happened. We are now doing everything within our power to do the forensics and prevent this from ever happening again."

Asked if he thought Kasperkey's reputation as a security company might be damaged by the incident, Schouwenberg answered "yes."

The lapse began January 28, when administrators rolled out changes to the support portion of usa.kaspersky.com. A piece of externally developed code that was not properly reviewed was responsible for the SQL injection vulnerability, which allowed hackers to access parts of the protected database contents by embedding commands into Kaspersky URL.

The company reverted to the older site format on Saturday around noon New York time, several hours after hackers posted a blog entry warning that the the vulnerability exposed proprietary information concerning Kaspersky and its customers.

Schouwenberg confirmed that the database contained about 2,500 customer email addresses and about 25,000 codes for authenticating copies of its software. Although the data was susceptible to pilfering during the 10-day period that the site was vulnerable, logs showed no one had actually tried to gain access to the information, he said. Credit-card information was never stored on the site.

Schouwenberg also said the hackers who discovered the vulnerability gave Kaspersky employees just one hour's notice before publishing their findings on a blog. The Kaspersky official gave the account to refute claims the hackers went public only after their private email warnings were ignored. ®

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