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SecurID breach cost RSA $66m

In 2nd quarter alone

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The security breach that targeted sensitive data relating to RSA's SecurID two-factor authentication product has cost parent company EMC $66m in the second quarter, The Washington Post has reported.

The king's ransom was spent after RSA issued a vaguely worded letter in March warning that undisclosed information had been stolen from its network that “could potentially be used to reduce the effectiveness of a current two-factor authentication implementation as part of a broader attack.”

The company came under blistering criticism for not providing additional details to customers, which include some of the world's biggest banks, media companies, government agencies and government contractors.

In a Tuesday conference call to discuss EMC's financial results, executive vice president David Goluden said the company spent the $66m to cover a variety of costs, including transaction monitoring for nervous customers and offering replacement tokens for those who asked for them.

“We incurred an accrued cost associated with investigating the attack, hardening our systems and working with customers to implement our remediation programs,” Goluden was quoted as saying.

EMC also said it alerted customers within hours of the breach and believes that the company was targeted for data on its defense and government agencies, rather than financial information, The Washington Post article said.

Since the breach, reports have emerged that attacks on at least two defense contractors - Lockheed Martin and L3 Communications - were aided by information stolen from RSA.

RSA has yet to say precisely what information was stolen, leading to speculation it includes the seeds used to generate one-time passwords on SecurID tokens. RSA has instead offered customers generic security advice, such as “enforce strong password and pin policies,” and “re-educate employees on the importance of avoiding suspicious emails.” ®

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