Feeds

Anonymous security firm hack used every trick in book

SQL injection, weak password security, social engineering - oh my!

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

An attack by Anonymous on security firm HBGary used a combination of software vulnerabilities and social engineering to pull off a highly sophisticated hack, it has emerged.

A SQL injection weakness in a third-party content management product used to post content on HBGary's website allowed a cadre of hackers from Anonymous to steal hashed versions of passwords used to update its website.

A brute force dictionary-based attack on these passwords allowed the miscreants to work out the login credentials used by HBGary Federal employees, including chief exec Aaron Barr and COO Ted Vera. Barr and Vera made the mistake of using the same passwords for their Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.

Crucially the same password was also used to administer a corporate email account, a failing seized upon by Anonymous to extract a cache of corporate emails which were subsequently posted as a torrent, exposing confidential emails. The emails, in turn, revealed who had access to the rootkit.com research site maintained by HBGary, and the probable root access password of the machine hosting the site.

Using this information Anonymous was able to hoodwink an associate of HBGary into dropping firewall defences and allowing remote access to the site under the pretext that the message came from Barr, who was supposedly on the road at a security conference at the time. The credentials were handed over, allowing Anonymous to deface the website.

A detailed analysis of the hack by Ars Technica, based on interviews with members of Anonymous and other research, can be found here.

HBGary had intended to reveal its research into the senior members of Anonymous at the BSides San Francisco conference, which runs parallel to this week's RSA Conference. In the wake of the hack (and "numerous threats of violence") HBGary withdrew from the RSA show, replacing their booth with a forlorn sign recorded in a blog post by Sophos here.

The leaked emails detail a supposed business proposal by HBGary to assist Bank of America's law firm, Hunton & Williams, in a dirty tricks campaign aimed at discrediting WikiLeaks in the run-up to the expected publication of confidential bank documents. The leaked documents detail supposed plans to dig up dirt and apply pressure to key WikiLeaks supporters as well as proposals to submit false documents in a bid to discredit the whistle-blowing website.

HBGary said the leaked documents might have been altered prior to publication. "Given that Anonymous has had these emails for days I would be highly suspect [sic] of them," the president of HBGary Penny Leavy told the BBC. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
JLaw, Kate Upton exposed in celeb nude pics hack
100 women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.