Feeds

RSA makes token offer to worried customers

Terribly sorry

SANS - Survey on application security programs

RSA has offered to replace its customers' security tokens following confirmation that an important customer had come under attack, in an incident made possible by an earlier high-profile hack against RSA's systems.

SecurID, RSA's two-factor authentication system, uses a token which generates a pseudo-random six-digit passcode every minute or so. The technology is widely used alongside standard user name and passwords as a means to adds extra security to remote access by many organisations and service provider.

The value of a passcode depends on the so-called seed numbers.

RSA admitted it had come under attack in March and said that this might affect its SecureID systems without saying what was taken. Experts have speculated that hackers may have made off with a portion of its seed number database but this remains unconfirmed.

From that point it would only be necessary to match serial numbers of tokens to portions of the stolen database to circumvent the protection offered by SecurID tokens.

At the time of the original breach, RSA attempted to reassure customers by saying that "we are confident that the information extracted does not enable a successful direct attack on any of our RSA SecurID customers".

This assurance has been undermined by the confirmation by defence contractor LockHeed Martin that it had come under attack from an assault based on information gleaned from the earlier RSA SecurID token breach. Lockheed Martin blocked the attack but the concern remains that other organisation might not fare so well.

Unconfirmed reports suggest two other defence contractors - L3 Communications and Northrup Grumman - have been obliged to suspend remote access after they also came under attack from assaults leveraging the original RSA hack.

The suspicion is that these contractors have been targeted for industrial-espionage by the highly-skilled hackers, possibly in the employ of national government or intelligence agencies.

In response to Lockheed's confirmation of a hack attack against its systems, RSA has extended an offer to replace SecurID tokens at no cost to its customers, providing they have "concentrated user bases typically focused on protecting intellectual property and corporate networks".

It's not immediately clear what proportion of RSA's customer base is covered by the replacement offer. Worse still, it's unclear if the new tokens might one day be subject to the same problem as the old tokens clearly face.

There's more to be said on this. One thing for sure is that RSA's original line for withholding technical details of the original attack because this would help the bad guys is now toast. ®

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.