Feeds

DigiNotar hacker says he stole huge GlobalSign cache

The man behind attack that minted 500 certs

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

An internet user with proven ties to the DigiNotar hack claims he stole email, customer data and other sensitive data from two competing web authentication authority that will be released publicly soon.

In a statement posted Thursday, an individual calling himself Comodohacker expanded on previous claims that he breached the security of Israel-based certificate authority StartCom and its competitor GlobalSign, which is headquartered in the US. “I have ALL emails, database backups, customer data” for StartCom, he wrote, and went on to say he had access to “the entire server,” database backups and system configuration of GlobalSign. GlobalSign has already stopped issuing certificates while it investigates.

Thursday's claims came shortly after Comodohacker offered the first conclusive proof he had insider knowledge of the security breach of Netherlands-based DigiNotar that minted more than 500 counterfeit certificates for Google.com and dozens of other websites. The unknown individual, who claims to be a 21-year-old Iranian who is sympathetic to his country's government, posted a file that was signed with the private key of the fraudulent Google certificate, proving he had close contact with the people who perpetrated the hack.

Comodohacker previously confirmed his involvement in a hack on a reseller of the Comodo certificate authority that also forged counterfeit credentials for sensitive websites.

In Thursday's post, he went on to provide details into the breach on DigiNotar, claiming its HSM, or hardware security module, ran on the OpenBSD operating system and had only a single port open that was protected with RSA SecurID and SafeSign Token management systems. It's unclear if that description matches the systems used by DigiNotar.

In June StartSSL suffered a security breach in which attackers attempted to mint fraudulent certificates for several sensitive websites but were ultimately unsuccessful. It was at least the fifth time an entity that issues SSL, or secure sockets layer, certificates had been targeted. In all, four of Comodo's resellers have suffered security breaches in the past six months.

There's no proof Comodohacker was behind the June attack on StartSSL, but in a post published Tuesday and a second post that followed the next day, he claimed he managed to gain control of the hardware security module StartSSL uses to issue certificates but was thwarted at the last minute because the company relied on manual verification.

In the same post, Comodohacker disputed claims Microsoft made Monday that fraudulently issued certificates for domains including *.microsoft.com and *.windowsupdate.com could be used to hijack Microsoft's security update system.

"I'm able to issue windows update," he wrote. "Microsoft's statement about Windows Update and that I can't issue such update is totally false!"

Microsoft declined to comment.

Given the track record of Comodohacker, and the previous attacks on the PK, or public key, infrastructure, which some observers believe is sponsored by the Iranian government, the claims should be thoroughly investigated, said Comodo CEO Melih Abdulhayoglu.

“This is totally a state-sponsored attack on the PK infrastructure so you have to take it seriously,” he told The Register. “You have to immediately turn everything into emergency mode, whatever that is in your company.”

In addition to temporarily ceasing certificate issuance during its investigation, GlobalSign has hired Dutch security firm Fox IT to assist in the probe. It's unclear what steps StartCom has taken in response to the claims. Representatives from both companies didn't respond to emails seeking comment for this post. ®

This article was updated to add details about a previous attack on StartCom, and fraudulent certificates issued for Microsoft domains.

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.