Telstra warns cloud customers they’re at risk of malware or worse

Won't say why, will say it's not sure it can fix the problem without your help

UPDATE Telstra has advised users of its cloud who run self-managed resources that their “internet facing servers are potentially vulnerable to malware or other malicious activity.”

The company says that it spotted a weakness in its service on May 4th and is now telling users to “delete or disable” the “TOPS or TIRC account on your self-managed servers”.

The Register has asked Telstra what “TOPS” and “TIRC” accounts allow. But the note sent to customers suggests they’re privileged administrator accounts of some sort.

“We’ve also taken steps to access your account and remove the TOPS or TIRC accounts to minimise the risk on your behalf,” the note says. “We’re still encouraging you to check your account settings and remove/disable any unused accounts as we can’t confirm at this stage if we’ll be successful updating the accounts from our end.”

The letter was sent to users of self-managed servers and advises customers of Telstra-managed servers that they’re in the clear.

At a guess, this sounds like TOPS and TIRC accounts have standard passwords, which have become more widely known than is sensible. And because such accounts appear to be on by default, it is party time for any miscreants who have credentials to unlock them.

And whatever the opposite of party time is at Telstra cloud.

We’ve asked Telstra to detail the situation and will update this story if it offers pertinent information. ®

UPDATE: A Telstra spokesperson told us "Our customers’ security is our number one priority. We identified a weakness, moved quickly to address it and worked closely with our customers to ensure the necessary steps were taken to fully secure their systems." The spokesperson did not elaborate on the nature of the security SNAFU.

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