Source code

Adobe hack: 2.9 million customer data at risk

September 30th, 2013

As recently discovered by Adobe, it had suffered some sophisticated attacks on its network that lead to theft of 2.9 million customer’s personal information including payment card information and source code for multiple Adobe software products such as ColdFusion, ColdFusion Builder, Adobe Acrobat and some more.

Brad Arkin, chief security officer of Adobe said “Very recently, Adobe’s security team discovered sophisticated attacks on our network, involving the illegal access of customer information as well as source code for numerous Adobe products. We believe these attacks may be related”.

Arkin further added “Our investigation currently indicates that the attackers accessed Adobe customer IDs and encrypted passwords on our systems. We also believe the attackers removed from our systems certain information relating to 2.9 million Adobe customers, including customer names, encrypted credit or debit card numbers, expiration dates, and other information relating to customer orders. At this time, we do not believe the attackers removed decrypted credit or debit card numbers from our systems. We deeply regret that this incident occurred. We’re working diligently internally, as well as with external partners and law enforcement, to address the incident”.

“Over 40 Gigabytes in encrypted archives have been discovered on a hackers’ server that appear to contain source code of such products as Adobe Acrobat Reader, Adobe Acrobat Publisher, and the Adobe ColdFusion line of products. It appears that the breach of Adobe’s data occurred in early August of this year but it is possible that the breach was ongoing earlier,” Hold Security, the security firm said in a post.

Adobe’s Arkin says the company is not aware of zero-day exploits or other specific threats to its customers due to the source code theft. “However, as always, we recommend customers run only supported versions of the software, apply all available security updates, and follow the advice in the Acrobat Enterprise Toolkit and the ColdFusion Lockdown Guide. These steps are intended to help mitigate attacks targeting older, unpatched, or improperly configured deployments of Adobe products,” he says.

All the Adobe customers who were affected by this data breach incident will be informed and adviced to change their password. Company is also alerting customers whose credit and debit card information was stolen. The news which brings some relief to the company is that the financial information was encrypted.

The company is working on “federal law enforcement” which would help them in investigation process of the hacks.

cybersecurity journalist Brian Kreb wrote on his blog, KrebsonSecurity.com, on Thursday that the two men discovered the code while investigating breaches at Dun & Bradstreet Corp, Altegrity Inc’s AGRTY.UL Kroll Background America Inc and Reed Elsevier’s LexisNexis Inc.

The hacking team’s server contained huge data of code that appeared to be source code for ColdFusion and Adobe Acrobat. Shortly after that discovery, KrebsOnSecurity shared several screen shots of the code repositories with Adobe.

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Hardware giant narrowly averts PC security nightmare

April 6th, 2013

American Megatrends, a company that specializes in PC hardware and firmware, has attempted to calm the rising trend of the panic attacks over the cryptographic signing keys leak as well as the source code for its UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) BIOS, the code that starts up millions of computers around the world. On account of the code leak that took place, a security researcher and penetration tester Adam Caudill from United States received a warning from his research partner Brandon Wilson regarding a Taiwanese vendor who had left a FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server open for public browsing and downloading. This called for again new challenge regarding the computer protection which was more baneful after this security leak as by keeping the encryption software they could have easily averted such mishaps.

The take-off also included few more things among internal emails and other data – those were the source code for American Megatrends Incorporated’s UEFI BIOS and cryptographic signing keys used for verification of it. Therefore it was in the keen interest of the American Megatrends company to enable the proper encryption software for their computer protection in order to stop the security leak threatening them, every now and then. The company was afraid to access the source code for the UEFI BIOS and the cryptographic signing keys to verify the absolute binary programs, this led researchers to the development of the fear that attackers might create and/ or disseminate malicious updates which in turn, could be used to compromise and control millions and millions of computers worldwide for a long time to come. According to the researcher Caudill, “this kind of leak is a dream come true for advanced corporate espionage or intelligence operations. The ability to create a nearly undetectable, permanent hole in a system’s security is an ideal scenario for covert information collection,” He continued.

BIOS or the basic input/output system is a code stored in read-only memory which is non-volatile on personal computers as well as on other similar devices. It is assumed to run only when devices start up and loads operating systems, initialising of the hardware such as their keyboard, storage and videos beforehand. The company started developing a Unified Extensible Firmware Interface since 2005 to overcome the limitations of the original Basic Input Output System (BIOS) specifications – which was designed to suit the basic 16-bit computers decades ago, also to provide further features such as the cryptographic security for booting up. The hardware company, American Megatrends claims to the largest BIOS vendor in the world. It said so in response to the researchers Caudill and Wilson’s findings when it was revealed that the security keys on the FTP server were in fact meant for the testing and not used for the production systems.

Chief Executive and Co-founder of the American Megatrends, Subramonian Shankar stated in an interview after the security that “while today’s news is certainly distressing, AMI would like to reassure its customers and partners in no uncertain terms that this should not be a security concern for them.” Security Researcher Caudill after whatever happened noted that while AMI instructed all its vendors regarding the usage of its UEFI BIOS to change the key initially, before building a production environment, and it is not known till now that if the customer with the open FTP server was following that practice or not. Caudill did not reveal that which Taiwanese vendor had leaked the information.

Get your personal as well as office laptops encrypted by Alertsec

With so much vulnerability on public networks Unencrypted laptops present a major risk of data loss. 80% of information theft is due to lost or stolen laptops and other equipment. About 50% of network intrusions are performed with credentials gathered from lost or stolen devices. The penalties for a data breach are severe not only in terms of the monetary fines imposed on the organization, but also the potential loss of trust from customers and suppliers. Encryption software greatly enhances the security of your organization’s data as the information is not compromised if a laptop is lost or stolen. Alertsec Xpress is the full disk encryption service that delivers a mobile data protection system for all information stored on laptops used throughout your organization.

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