Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top data breaches of 2014 and lessons

May - eBay [1, 2]
  • 145 million
  • The problem has been exploited at least from February
  • Information compromised - encrypted passwords, usernames, emails, DoBs, phone numbers, postal addresses
  • How - eBay allows sellers to use active content such as Javscript and Flash. Hackers have embedded password harvesting scripts in listings and used XSS attack to gather information from logged in users
  • Lessons  - If you allow active content in your web site, you need to have preventive (such as limiting what is allowed) as well as risk mitigation techniques (detection, monitoring, etc.) in place. If not, it is better to block active content.

September - Home Depot [1]
  • 56 million
  • Information compromised - credit and debit card numbers
  • How - resulted from the compromise of a third-party vendor
  • Lessons - Organizations should evaluate the security measures taken by third-party vendors and also have intrusion detection in place.

September - JPMorgan Chase [1, 2]
  • Attack discovered in July and disclosed in September
  • 76 million households (83 million accounts)
  • Information compromised - names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses
  • How - Hackers got access via a neglected server which is not upgraded to two factor authentication
  • Potentially took 2 months to notice unusual activities after the initial attack
  • Lessons - Security is only as strong as the weakest link in your system. Make sure you do not leave any unguarded holes in your network. Cannot emphasize more of the need for better and faster detection techniques in place.

December - Sony Pictures [1]
  • Number of people affected is still not known
  • Attack initially detected in November
  • Information compromised - unreleased movies, company emails, executive salaries, personal information, internal strategy information
  • How - wiper malware (still it is not known how it got into the system). It is likely that lapses in internal security measures may resulted in this attack.
  • Lessons - Never take security lightly. Internal security measures and auditing should always be a top priority.


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